Thrust & Salty Jackson The Chosen Ones

In a move to possibly headline next year's Manifesto festival, "Northern Touch" alumnus Thrust makes a rather unexpected return from the land of "where are they now?" with a record that looks back to the raw, chunky, no-gimmicks hip-hop of yesteryear. Joining forces with capable beat-slinger Salty Jackson to form the Chosen Ones, the easygoing throwback MC employs a flow that, were it a point guard, would be the calming force keeping things in check while maintaining offensive movement. In lyrical terms, that translates to workman's wordplay with decent hooks but few moments of memorable flare and as such, it's largely Jackson's beats that make the strongest impression, with less-is-more rhythms like those felt on "Issues" and the guitar-tinged "The Gathering." A touch of jazz finds its way into the mix on "Tha Gift," while the boom-bap backbeat and old school horn blasts of "U Lookin?" offer up some nostalgia on a record that, though not wig-flipping, works as a collection of tunes to just put on and ease back to. (Independent)