At first glance, you probably wouldnâ€™t guess that Adam Strange is a brilliant, buckwildinâ€™ hip-hop ace or an up & coming modern painter. Thereâ€™s something roughhewn and earthy about him that does hint at his history in organic farming and high-minded horticulture but put a mic in his hand and give him something sumptuous to ride over and heâ€™s goddamn lethal â€“ noodle loose, clever as hell and funny as all get out. While the least prolific of GFEâ€™s three frontline MCs (a fact noted in a charmingly self-deprecating way in his music), when Strange puts out a fresh joint itâ€™s perfectly rolled and ready to blaze.
Case in point, his second solo album, New Americana (The Cause and Effect of Pop Culture Vol. II), begins with a patriotic ohm and then dives into the contemporary malaise dragginâ€™ folks down around America. It could be a bummer trip but Strange, helped throughout by his Granola Funk cohorts, has an off-handed gift for slipping past defenses to shine a light into places right under nose that we may have missed. His modus operandi is subtle and exceedingly funny, a rap-tastic counterpart to primo stand-ups like Dave Attell and Louis C.K., tickling fancies and snatchinâ€™ up panties with his weed addled adventures while showing that being a stoner doesnâ€™t necessarily mean one is indolent or slow witted. As usual with the GFE crew, the music is organic, flowing and filled with a musicality and head-nodding charm quite beyond the vast majority of contemporary hip-hop artists. Adamâ€™s love of his chosen genre, amped up by his collaboratorâ€™s similar gusto, shines through every track on New Americana, which jumps ahead of the pack as one of 2011â€™s first great albums.
Letâ€™s just hope the fates put this self-avowed road dog back on the live circuit in a bigger way this year, so he and the rest of GFE can remind the rest of yâ€™all what Iâ€™ve known for years: This crewâ€™s only real competition in the hip-hop realm is The Roots, and frankly GFE and Strange are generally a lot more fun.