Just two years ago, local producers the Other Guys were relative unknowns looking for a career path. 2012’s Joe & Insanate’s Excellent LP—with its bare-bones Native Tongues aura—had potential, but was a bit rough. Since then, the duo of Joe Myles and Isaiah Mensah have gotten better, and that growth shows on projects like The Week and Seeds of Ambition. The 1990s’ golden-era spirit is still there on the newer work, but the instrumentals carry a richer sound.
Released in late November, To: You is a fully realized effort from the Other Guys. As the backdrop for Brooklyn rapper Von Pea—himself an accomplished yet unheralded lyricist—the Other Guys offer subdued melodies for Von’s equally laid-back cadence. “Everybody love rap, everybody hates rappers, we the new porn stars,” the MC quips on the intro. “People wanna be us or fuck us, but not around others/No respect for us, meanwhile, adore what we do.”
To: You is a viable partnership for both: Von sounds appropriate atop the Other Guys’ nostalgic soundtrack; in turn, the collaboration is a great look for the producers, who have linked with other like-minded artists—namely yU and Substantial—as of late to build their own profile.
With Von Pea, the Other Guys join a rapper who embraces his anonymity. He wears the tag as a badge of honor, often riffing on his invisibility with his rap group Tanya Morgan, whose 2006 debut, Moonlighting, mocked itself as a bargain-bin rap record. Collectively, To: You is a decent listen, and it’s evident the Other Guys are working to perfect their craft.
Stream the album below.