Thirstin Howl III & Rack-Lo Lo Down & Dirty

Lo Down & Dirty is noteworthy not just for being the first full-length collaboration between Lo Life founders Thirstin Howl III and Rack-Lo but also because it happens to be the first time an American hip-hop artist has released an album exclusively through an Australian label. The two even tap Australian producers Stricknine and the Optimen, as well as their regular beat slangers, the Anger Bangers, to end up with Thirstin’s best-produced album to date. As on previous works from Thirstin Howl III and Rack-Lo, Lo Down & Dirty focuses on their history within the Lo Life movement, a NYC gang obsessed with Polo and the act of shoplifting the brand during the ’80s and ’90s. It’s an angle that differentiates their subject matter from that of the common street rapper, even if they still touch on other well-established hip-hop clichés. Thirstin Howl III is a hungry, charismatic MC that is recognisable in both English and Spanish, and he always kills the track. Rack-Lo is less obvious but he proves here that he can handle his own by flipping flows from one beat to the next. The two work well together, presenting a nice mix of swagger and skills, marking Lo Down & Dirty as a street album that should have universal appeal. Will this finally be the album that gets Thirstin Howl III the recognition he deserves? (Class A)