The Loops is raw and dusty Hip-Hop served straight-up with no frills or pretense from two Massachusetts natives—rapper/producer, Louie Gonz and producer/turntablist, DJ Manipulator—who have both been putting in work for years.

It’s the type of record that would sound right at home alongside your favorite releases from the Alchemist, Oh No, or Roc Marciano, artists who know a thing or two about creating Hip-Hop in its grittiest form.

The album’s strengths are evident right out the gate on opener, “All Hail,” a menacing slapper driven by Manipulator’s crazy sample flips and Gonz’s no-bullsh*t bars. It sets the perfect tone for listening to The Loops straight through.

But also because you’ll hear quotables worth scribbling down in your notepad, like “I feel like Nas in ‘96 with the half-moon” or “You messin’ with a heavyweight/ Betta get it straight/ Five seconds ‘til I detonate/ The whole entire buildin’, streets about to levitate.”

Of course, none of this comes as a surprise to fans of Manipulator and Gonz, who previously released Private Stock in 2014 and were once part of the crew Kinda Dusty. Although the group’s members went their separate ways, the two obviously kept in touch and continued working on music together.

“With this release, Louie and I want to reintroduce ourselves as a duo,” Manipulator explains. “It’s been awhile since our last effort and we’ve both grown musically. We’re at a point in our careers where we’re focused more then ever.”

That focus remains steady throughout the record, whether Gonz is attacking the mic solo or trading verses with like-minded emcees. Those guests include Blu on “This Sound” and William Hurtz on the closing track “Lean,” both instant standouts that stick with you once the album ends. And given its brief running time, don’t be surprised if you hit that repeat button—or, pardon the pun, keep it on a constant loop.

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Written by Hao Nguyen
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