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A Piece of Strange

by CunninLynguists

Released January 24, 2006 via QN5 Music / L.A. Underground

Reviewed January 28, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
The Gates (72%), Since When (41%), Beautiful Girl (38%)

If you had to describe A Piece of Strange in one word, it’d be “soul.” Whether it’s the emotion-filled Kentucky twang in the voices of Deacon The Villain and Natti, the passionate lyrics, or the impeccable Kno production laden with samples that breathe life into each song, the common denominator of all these qualities is the soul and rawness involved. The almost Avalanches-like production serves as a backdrop for an incredibly complex narrative rarely seen in hip-hop (and music in general), cementing CunninLynguists’ third studio album as a landmark release in both Southern and underground hip-hop. – Alan (8.6/10)

The underground hip-hop scene is expansive and elaborate: this artist is part of this group that influenced that artist and so on and so forth…it feels overwhelming to know where to begin sometimes. Outside of perhaps an MF DOOM record, A Piece of Strange is about the best starting point you could ask for. The lyrics are intricate and brimming with skill, the storyline is compelling and thought-provoking, and Kno’s instrumentals exhibit the dazzling qualities of soul music and a complexity in line with some of the greatest producers of all time. Of course, Southern hip-hop has the bass-thumping spirit we all know and love, but artists out of the South have been displaying versatility since the region's musical conception, and CunninLynguistics’ A Piece of Strange is yet another example of just how multifaceted the area has been. – Pax (8.5/10)

15 years ago, CunninLynguists exchanged southern hip-hop's typically robust charisma for a more calculated approach to the region's sound. Behind a meticulously designed narrative, A Piece of Strange weaves a tale of sin and survival that flexes mental acuity. Beyond this intellectual nature, APOS also gifts us beats from producer Kno that situate themselves somewhere between early Kanye and J Dilla. From soulful to sinister, the illustrious backdrop brings life to the albums characters, inspiring the best in them. Due to its rabbit hole conceptual elements, the album can simultaneously urge the listener to reflect on their own life choices and have an impact beyond simply entertainment value. These qualities make it a unique submission in rap lore and one rarely emulated, if ever. – Enth (8/10)

Hadley: 9.5/10 | Cam: 8.8/10 | Alan: 8.6/10 | Pax: 8.5/10 | Dominick: 8.2/10

DeVán: 8/10 | Enth: 8/10 | Jared: 8/10


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