BPos Pos Tapes Vol. 1

The trio of DJ Johnny Venetti, rapper/producer B-Wiz (who had already been using the BPos name before they met) and veteran rapper Goodword formed out of Venetti's long-running open mic night in San Francisco, releasing their debut album, Uprising, in 2009. They follow that with this free collection of songs, the first in a series of albums featuring production provided by one guest. In this case, Big Shawn of Bored Stiff, who creates plenty of feel good tunes that incorporate throwback production, the occasional old school break and a bunch of R&B hooks. While the R&B works well as a counterpoint to the crunchy synth on intro track "Volume 1" and amongst the world-ending melodrama of "122112," it becomes a little heavy-handed over the "SoundEarth Snip" series of songs spread throughout the album. BPos being a shortening of "Be Positive," it's a given that the trio concentrate on the positive aspects of hip-hop music, although the witty braggadocio of Wiz and 'Word still contain attacks on hip-pop and wack rappers. The MCs, including a plethora of interestingly named guests, including Mantis One, DMN OLGY, Trunk Drank and more, drop a decent selection of raps, but Goodword's raspy voice and confident delivery make him a standout. Holding it all together is Johnny Venetti, his slick slicing and dicing, beat juggling and pulling back and replaying small sections of songs giving the album a slight mixtape feel. Pos Tapes Vol. 1 may not be a classic album in the making, but it does make for a damn fine mixtape. And it's free. However, hopefully their next guest producer gives them something with a harder edge on which to show and prove. (One League)