Theezonings: the 2019 features of Theez
Updated: Aug 6, 2019
Theez, formerly known as Thesis was one of my favorite indie MCs from when I first heard him on personality-driven CLDMKRS cuts in the mid 20teens. We give him a lot of shit about his debut solo LP never dropping but the truth is if you really want a heavy dose of what this dude does look no further than the English Class Project project No Free Lunch. There are those of us however that fiend for this dude’s new works especially because if you follow his social media he’s always dropping tantalizing ass snippets. I, to be honest, got a little frustrated with his constant soshul media teases and tend to ignore it unless he straight drops some tracks which is why I was stoked to see him do that this year with Notiz Yong, East of the River Network, the West Coast Avengers and more.
Notiz Yong’s new album Fair Enough is both the first chapter of his discography made after the birth of his son and there’s lots about growing up, working class struggle, dreams for your family and being there for your kids but it also has strident reminders of rebellion like the anti-cop anthem ‘FTP’ as well as the Theez feature, “Drag You Out”.
This was long anticipated because just a couple months before Theez and Notiz dropped a Harold & Kumar-themed project full of instrumentals, White Castle Lost Tape with diverse modern bangers, an infectious synthesis of their two beat-styles and clever uses of Harold and Kumar movie samples but conspicuously- no vocals and from two of the region’s most solid and respected rhymesayers. The wait was worth it: Notiz knows how to build tension on a song leading up to violent implication and Theez knows how to break tension, humorously and outrageously. Theez has this style that teeters masterfully in between sounding half like an obnoxious nursery rhyme and half like the most provocative bars you ever heard. Their collab on “Drag You Out” is one of the most memorable tracks on Fair Enough in my assessment.
My crew the West Coast Avengers with the help of Ca$hOnly made a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed EP, Guardians of the I.E.- Awesome RemixTape that features Theez on the Yondu-themed track. The album is all classic rock flips from the Marvel movie soundtracks and it totals up at a brief 19 minutes so folks can bump it as they drive to the theater to watch the latest superhero fare and Theez is the only non-West Coast Avenger to provide vocals in addition to the sample-sources. On the song, Theez effortlessly helps express the theme of chopping down MCs like Yondu with his whistle-knife weapon in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. He also kicks in on the chorus over the Jay and the Americans sample flipped into a thunderous double-time beat and I was honored to have him as one of the album's two featured artists.
Like with GOTIE and Fair Enough I think Theez delivers one of the stand-out verses on EOTR Network’s recent outstanding Rare Stones Volume 1 under the banner 3rd Person which is Rok3m, Mad Macks and Don’t Sleep. I have a long standing personal relationship with all these dudes except Don’t Sleep which makes it, admittedly, all the more like an unfolding new artistic mystery every time I hear him spit. He’s one of those dudes who seamlessly rhymes self-evident aphorisms with frankly-phrased street wisdom. His studious flipping of classic rap phrases and songs like "La di Da di" and “Aquemini” reveal a 90’s kid who soaked in the best rap that pop culture had to offer a certain generation of millennials. Mad Macks is a thunder-voiced mic mercenary who has been instrumental in the growing EOTR movement for the entire half-decade I’ve known him. I’ve known Rok3m since my group only played 626 shows in 2008ish days and he’s always been a sought-after banger-creator and a super solid friendly artist in the community that recognizes him more every year for his dedication and sense of melody and rhythm. His work ranges from jazz sci-fi to lo-fi, live SP sessions, Latin rhythms, soul loops and beyond. I knew this project would be dope but Rok3m’s intrepid eclecticism leads the album to montages, flips, rambles, jams and experiments worthy of the intelligence of these 3 men. Theez delivers an enunciation master-class on “FWM” or “Fuck wit Me”, bringing to life a catchphrase long-time followers of Theez' social media will be familiar with. Macks runs with this chorus noteworthily though and the track is an EOTR masterpiece by the end.
“Wrong One” with ECP compatriot Brew Swill is Theez’ latest single and again, it’s really dope and cracking so if we could get a whole album of this that’d be tight AF…
Theez if you’re reading about this drop your album so music writers can stop turning all your features into playlists! Peep all these projects, So Cal stays cooking…
Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for Zus Entertainment, a Jooseboxx and Untapped Hip-Hop contributor, and member of the Inland Empire, California based nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers.