Mr. Roam Tom Strokes Presents the Classix

As a guest MC on Da Grassroots’ Passage Through Time, one of the finest hip-hop full-lengths that this country has issued, Mr. Roam shone among the many MCs featured, particularly on entries like the reggae-tinged "Postal Work.” Not much has been heard from Roam since that album dropped a few years ago and Tom Strokes Presents the Classix attempts to fill in the gaps. The tracks featured on this sonic resume date back to '98 and have been gathered to whet the appetite for a full-length that will finally surface later this year. Roam’s distinctive rasp lays down meandering flows over sparse funk production provided by Attic of Da Grassroots. The tracks gathered here give Roam plenty of room to spread his conversational and laid-back charisma. "Another Love Song” finds Roam navigating and name-checking Toronto streets over a sinewy bass line while "Neo B-Boyism” revels in its rugged, unvarnished essence. In between the tracks, Roam’s elusive nature is highlighted alongside commentary from Attic. It all makes for an unconventional collection of tracks that sounds like a curious mix between a mix tape and a sampler that matches Roam’s own stream-of-consciousness flow. Functioning as a tool that both reminds heads that he’s still around and introducing him to those unaware of him, this EP release is an affirmative success on both levels. (Choice Cut)