Review: Frank N Dank, “Xtended Play version 3.13”

Frank N Dank
Xtended Play version 3.13
Chisel Sound

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

It has been a little while since we’ve heard from the Detroit rap duo. Their last appearance was on Jaylib’s 2003 project, Champion Sound. That same year, FND also put out their debut LP, 48 Hours, an album initially booked to come out on MCA before the group left the label. With Xtended Play, the Motor City rappers have expanded their list of collaborators and stayed true to their approach of fuzzing the line between club music and basement sounds.

Some assistance comes from Toronto producer Kemo on “Wit FND.” Somewhat Madlib-esque, the neck jerking groove might be the first of more to come from Kemo if he keeps on the grind. And speaking of the grind, or hustle rather, I know the cool thing to do is to rap about stacking paper, but how many more uninspiring songs do we need to hear on the matter? Didn’t Jay-Z finalize who’s the best and close the case? With “Wit FND’s” chorus — “We get money each and everyday/Chase that money each and every day/There’s only one thing left to say/It’s time to hustle” — there’s only one thing left for me to do, which is throw my hands in the air and hit “next” on the CD player. In their defense, though, FND says Xtended Play exposes how “hood life is much the same everywhere. It’s soul music for players.”

Probably the most noteworthy hit off Xtended Play, “My City,” is a Dilla crafted banger that describes life in their hometown, “the D.” This track comes correct for Motor City residents who need a little pick-me-up after the Tigers returned home without a World Series title. When the break on the mellow “Blaow” first hits your ears, it’s hard not to note that People Under the Stairs previously used the same drums on their track, “A Fly Love Song.” But FND hold their own as they describe how they live up to their responsibilities of providing for their families.

Frank N Dank aren’t going to blow minds with complex rhyme schemes or challenging content. What they are going to do is give their fans what they’re looking for. It’s not gangster and it’s not backpacker. It’s not quite underground yet it’s not mainstream. Xtended Play is just good hip-hop, straight up.

— James O’Connor

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