Yeah, Snoop popped up all over town throughout Super Bowl week, but for the most part, Jacksonville, Fla., does not enjoy a particularly thick hip-hop history: the last big-time MC to come out of its Skynyrd-rocking swamplands did novelty George Michael covers and barked a lot about “nookie.”
Such is not the case with the north-Florida transplants in Asamov, who are more concerned with hip-hop’s essence on their strong and accomplished debut, “And Now…,” producing a vibe grounded in the organic grind of their clear heroes in De La Soul. And indeed, the four-man crew — Therapy, Willie Evans, Jr., Basic and J-One-Da — comes off closer to Brooklyn than anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon on tracks like the soulful “Real Good,” the party jam “Fem Fems” and the nostalgic “Boom Box.”
They’ve got a 9th Wonder track too, and underground hero Mr. Lif cameos on the bounding, old-soul first single “Supa Dynamite,” which rolls on a killer Evans beat. It’s his bangingest since last fall’s “The Razor,” the Perceptionists track that became an unofficial anthem for your World Champion New England Patriots. Jacksonville’s not in any danger of becoming Houston anytime soon, but Asamov’s not in any danger of becoming a Durst-ian memory.