Chicago hip-hop duo Udababy tap the energy of the Why? Records collective on their debut album | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Chicago hip-hop duo Udababy tap the energy of the Why? Records collective on their debut album

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Judging from the energy of practically every Why? Records release, the four rappers who make up the underground Chicago hip-hop collective and label could easily spend the rest of their lives collaborating in different configurations on a half dozen albums per year. Udababy LP, the debut full-length from Why? duo Udababy, is no exception. Rappers Joshua Virtue (who produced most of the record) and Davis convene amid worn-in instrumentals that are just the right amount of rickety and loose, hitting the sweet spot targeted by every underground hip-hop producer with an affection for grit. Rough-hewn and occasionally melancholy, these tracks befit the MCs’ performances: on “2004 World Series of Dice,” for instance, Davis’s mellow, gravelly voice saunters over an unsteady piano loop and dragging drumbeat while Virtue shouts like he’s phoning in from the deck of a merchant ship weathering an open-ocean storm. Both rappers relish moving verses around in their mouths, homing in on the exact right speed and intensity for their delivery, and each song contains reams of ideas that sometimes feel like non sequiturs and sometimes arrive as single pieces of a puzzle about our complicated world. You’ll want to listen to these tracks over and over, so you’re sure to eventually find the treasures Udababy have buried.   v

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