Pham Nation Underground Railroad – Grade, A
Grade, A is a release from Pham Nation Underground Railroad, serving as a placeholder in anticipation of their upcoming release later in 2014.
Bearing in mind that Nashville is better known for its output of country music, PNUR dish out a huge amount of confidence in Grade, A. Peppered with skits and a real tongue-in-cheek at times. There are surprises to be found too, with references to Gary Jules’ version of ‘Mad World’ on ‘Daily Races’.
As a collective, Pham Nation Underground Railroad cover a wide range of bases in terms of style, flow, and tone. The previously mentioned ‘Daily Races’ has a relentless barrage of rhymes slung out through the mid section of the track, held together with the ‘Mad World’ sample. Title track ‘Grade,A’ opens with a deceptively washed out style, all mid tones, until the track moves in to its main section with the raps hitting hard with a darkness and straight-ahead attitude.
‘Came To See’ is more laid back in style, more noteworthy for its rhymes rather than its production, while ‘Go Wild’ heads in a sleazier R&B direction, with its bass tones, glacial synths and pan pipes.
Closing the collection with the aptly titled ‘Outro’, Grade, A concludes with a heavy bedrock of bass tone while the rap vocal sits confidently atop of the track.