If you’ve caught Blackalicious on tour over the last fifteen years or so, you will have witnessed first hand the prodigious talent of Portland based rapper and singer Vursatyl. As well as playing a major role in the Blackalicious stage show, Vursatyl is set to feature on their eagerly awaited fourth album ‘Imani’ (released summer 2015). Standing toe to toe with Gift Of Gab, surely one of the most ferociously gifted MCs on the planet is no mean feat, but one which Vursatyl performs with ease.
Blackalicious producer and owner of Quannum Projects Chief Xcel discovered Vursatyl’s crew ‘Livesavas’ back in the late 90’s and invited them to join him on the road to promote the Quannum Spectrum album (which featured Jurassic 5, El-P and Souls of Mischief among many others). Lifesavas went on to record two critically acclaimed albums for the label, and were named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of their ‘Top Ten Artists To Watch’.
Now 24 years into his rap career, Crooked Straights marks a new chapter in Vurstatyl’s story; unbelievably this is the first time he’s taken centre stage to release a solo record. Full of warm, soulful, Dilla-esque hip hop beats created largely by local Portland producers, Vursatyl provides a master-class in the art of lyricism with a record which surely cements his reputation as one of the most respected artists in the hip hop community. Conscious lyrics delivered with a sense of fun and a touch of swagger makes this a ‘must check’ record for fans of golden era Hip Hop.
‘Crooked Straights is my conflict. This Gold Chain wearin’, clothes hound, fly guy is “Crooked”. He’s also something of a taboo in “conscious Hip Hop”. But I’m also a father and husband who keeps things positive, both in mind and word… That’s the “Straights”.’