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February 20, 2012

Insufficient Funds: Agents of Change - The Buzzkill Mixtape

Insufficient Funds is a recurring post in which we feature a free, or very close to it, piece of media that you can enjoy without over drafting your bank account. So if you're low on funds, stay tuned to Cerebral Pop.

Chicago-based hip hop band Agents of Change are out to destroy everything for you by being the biggest buzzkills possible. Alright, really they just want to educate people and talk about awful things happening every day in our society in order to get others talking and thinking and put it into the collective conscious a little bit more.

I'm gonna show my lack of knowledge with this Insufficient Funds because I don't listen to very much rap or hip hop. What does the term 'mixtape' mean in hip hop culture? Is it always the artist rapping over other artist's beats? Does it always consist of not only studio-recorded songs, but live recordings, and plenty of collaborations? Are mixtapes always free?

Well, no matter what the "norm" is, The Buzzkill Mixtape from Agents of Change has/is all of these things. It's also pretty damn good.

I first found out about Agents of Change when I was digging around for bands similar to Leftover Crack and Choking Victim. While another local band from the same area, Evil Empire, shares the sound of those bands more, both bands list them as influences. Rap is definitely a part of the "Crack Rock Steady" sound that those two bands created, but AoC takes it to the next level. (Want more talk of Crack Rock Steady and its associated bands? Listen to the episode of Shuffled that was released on the topic.)

One of my favorite things about Agents of Change is that it's a full band, not just a rapper over top of some pre-made beats. Except, as I mentioned, many of the songs on The Buzzkill Mixtape are remixes (Is that the right term if he's putting his own lyrics over the beat from another song? See? Lack of knowledge.) of other well-known hip hop songs. And the length and variety of music provided don't exactly come together into a cohesive album. It feels very...single-y. I find myself wanting to re-listen to specific songs that I'm into at the moment, rather than the entire mixtape from start to finish.

Still, these aren't really faults. This release mostly just flies in the face of my own specific preferences, and yet, I really like it anyway. That's probably a sign of quality, and if your tastes are more geared to the things this mixtape does you might completely love it. Either way it's free, and that's awesome. And if you like the free mixtape even a little bit, you'll probably like Agents of Change's albums even more.

Go download The Buzzkill Mixtape for absolutely nothing. If you like that, throw them some cash and download Sucka Free as well. If you aren't yet sold enough to leave this page, here are two of my favorite songs from the mixtape. Enjoy.


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