By James Ritchey
The rap supergroup Doomtree first formed in Minneapolis in the early 2000s, intending to bring together the best hip-hop artists in the Midwest. In 2008, the seven-member group, (composed of Sims, POS, Mike Mictlan, Dessa, Cecil Otter, Paper Tiger, and Lazerbeak) released their first full album, and since then, each of these artists has split their time between solo and group projects.
The latest such project is Shredders, a group composed of rappers POS and Sims, and produced by Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger. As artists who are well acquainted with each other already, Shredders clearly play to their strengths on “Dangerous Jumps,” their debut album.
“Dangerous Jumps” was first announced on Sept. 6, releasing their first single from the album (“Flipping Cars”) on the same day. A short EP containing three songs was released shortly after, and served as a teaser to Doomtree fans until the full album was released on Nov. 3.
“Dangerous Jumps” opens with “Tuf Tiddy,” a hard pounding track reminiscent of any other Doomtree record. Following that are “Flipping Cars,” “Cult 45,” and “Xanthrax,” each of which boast a fast-paced beat accompanied by the semi-coherent ramblings of POS and Sims.
The album slows down with “Fly as I Dare” and “Calm/Sane,” which contrast with the rest of the album to the point it feels as if they were forced into the track list. Mike Mictlan is featured on two tracks, “Style Boys” and “Heater Season,” which further blurs the line between Shredders and a regular Doomtree album.
The album ends with another two softer tracks, “Lion’s Mouth” and “Heater Season.” “Dangerous Jumps” reaches its climax fairly quickly, with its early tracks being so loud that later tracks tend to blur together.
Overall, “Dangerous Jumps” contains very few lyrics of any substance, but when listening, one probably will not notice due to the superb production. Without being held back by other rappers, both producers have used full artistic freedom to create interesting, heavy backings to each track, and each song still feels unique.
The Doomtree fan base has come to expect hard-hitting tracks of minimal depth, and “Dangerous Jumps” delivers just that.
In a time when underground rap has been almost exclusively political in nature, Shredders have found a setting to have fun and steer their genre back to where it has been in the past. The longest track on the record clocks in at just 3:35, differing greatly from the nine-minute epics on some of both POS and Sims’ solo albums.
Whether or not the Shredders project continues or just folds back into the Doomtree collective, “Dangerous Jumps” will likely remain a steadfast favorite for driving and workout playlists, while creating another standard for the underground rap scene.