Sword Bearer mixtape
Like most hip-hop albums of the last 20 years, the skits and interludes on this debut recording by the Theorizt are pretty disposable. But the rest of Sword Bearer is strikingly original, not so much in format (rapping and live instruments have been paired up before, usually with mixed results) as in content. The group's three producers know better than to just let Black Atticus, Jarius Bush, and a handful of guest rappers rhyme over standard rock band arrangements, adding samples, synths, and sampled beats that keep the songs grounded in hip-hop traditions—you might not even notice that much of the music is performed by a live band. Those same producers—Mike Miller, Atticus, and Bush—also create a full range of sound on Sword Bearer, from the head trip of "In the Booth" to the rhythmic overdrive of "Turn Me Up."