Adam WarRock & Mikal kHill

The Browncoats Mixtape

BY Thomas QuinlanPublished Nov 17, 2016

There was likely no great demand for a hip-hop album based upon the concept of Josh Whedon's short-lived sci-fi western series, Firefly, and follow-up film Serenity, but that's exactly what rapper Adam WarRock and Thought Criminals producer Mikal kHill present with The Browncoats Mixtape. Of the 15 tracks, five are short interludes pulled from a few classic episodes of the series, which should draw knowing smiles from fans, but won't reveal much to those unfamiliar with this cult phenomenon, and the samples also could have been better integrated into the songs. Mikal kHill's production is a combination of brooding boom-bap drums and fiddle-heavy country, as sampled from the soundtracks to both the show and movie, which provides a consistent sound and is dope enough to stand on its own, plus the beats also offer a nostalgic draw and easier absorption into the concept. For his part, WarRock (who's primarily infamous for rapping about comic books) demonstrates his storytelling skills with character studies of favoured Serenity crewmembers and metaphorical comparisons between the independence of the crew and underground rap. He's more than capable as an MC, holding his own alongside Tribe One on "Independents" and Jesse Dangerously on "Out of Gas," and outshining the Thought Criminals on "Vera," their ode to badass merc Jayne. With The Browncoats Mixtape, the duo have succeeded in creating an inspired project that not only lives up to expectations but also deserves to be heard by more than just the small cross-section of hip-hop fans also interested in the adventures of the crew of Serenity.

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