Five Deez

Depictions of futuristic music in popular culture are often either cheesy and childish (think the first Star Wars movie or television's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century) or uninspired commercial trance and techno (think the Matrix trilogy). What has been lacking is a seriousness of purpose combined with serious chops. That's where Five Deez, an abbreviation of Fifth Dimension, comes in.

This cross-continental quartet features Fat Jon (a.k.a. The Ample Soul Physician) — a sci-fi obsessed, Berlin-based producer — and Pase Rock, Sonic, and Kyle David, three streetwise Cincinnati-based MCs. Outside of the Sa-Ra Collective, Dälek, and the Anti-Pop Consortium, few hip-hop groups have mapped the uncharted territory between experimental electronic music and boom bap as thoroughly as Five Deez. "Fugg That," the album's first single, opens with smeared, airy synth washes reminiscent of the void of space, before frenetic, clattering beats launch the tune into hyperdrive while the MCs shout out to their homies back on Earth. Though Fat Jon's otherworldly beats, featuring the bizarre buzzing and whirring of alien machines, might intimidate lesser MCs, Five Deez's triumvirate of talented lyricists nimbly rocks positive messages on tunes like "Black Rushmore" and "BMW" (a.k.a. "Black Man's Wishes"). Undaunted by the boundaries of time and space, Five Deez boldly goes where no hip-hop artists have gone before.

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David Mittleman