REVIEW: Passed Up - 5 EP

Genre: Hip Hop
Origin: Las Vegas, Nevada

You almost have to take today's generation of hip hop with a grain of salt. Don't get me wrong, it's usually still good to listen to, but it's such an infiltrated and widespread genre at this point that it's pretty difficult to find outstanding artists that break from the mold. What's the mold, exactly? Well, the idea of hip hop now being as popular as it is, popularity seems to be the name of the game. As long as it follows successful formulas and not really adding anything else to the table, then you've got yourself a hip hop record. Again, it's successful because it features the stylings of a potentially great tune, but sometimes the void isn't really filled.

For instance, upon listening to "New Shh" on Passed Up's debut EP, I am instantly reminded of "Wait (The Whisper Song)" from The Ying Yang Twins. Not the most original hip hop song in the world, but perhaps it's within the title's telling statement "New Shh" as another way to tell you what's in, or perhaps it's reason to believe a new hip-hop duo is trying to one-up their superiors with an additional outtake that doesn't have its own voice. Though "New Shh" talks about something drastically cleaner and ups the vocals a few decibels from whispers (which I suppose doesn't "say" much), the overall construction - from the smooth tempo featuring a thumping house beat, high hat and vocal content - is eerily similar. As the kick off track to a debut EP, this can either raise eyebrows or shake heads. You decide.

But one might reconsider the Vegas natives' objectives in order to see through to their production. The Ying Yang Twins had a dancey tune that was immensely popular and grew into a radio hit, and that feeling of riding the popularity train is found throughout the duo's 5 EP. It doesn't necessarily have the slickness of a highly popular single, but just the way songs are formulated like "3 Minutes," "I Heart Nerds" and "Watch Me (Ima Do It)" give you a sense of urgency, as if these are NOW hits, where you should listen to them NOW because they are a sign of the NOW times. These songs are perfectly capable of attracting listeners into a club playing Top 40 where as long as you can dance to it it's acceptable, but for it to stand on its own through earbud headphones can be somewhat difficult.

To call them derivative would be taking it a little too far, but their showing of 5 does walk a fine line. Passed Up look to give you candy that tastes good but won't won't fulfill you, and if you're more interested in being at the party than being the one hosting it, then they have seven tracks that are dancey and catchy for the time being. Time being, mind you. The duo is probably capable of making music that can last beyond our years, but what's in is in, and they know it.

Passed Up - "New Shh"

Passed Up - "Catch Me In The Rain"

Passed Up's 5 EP is available on CD Baby, Amazon, and iTunes through the JaHMa record label.

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