When Lawrence indie label Datura issued Approach’s Ultra Proteus EP in the fall of 2002, the disc quickly earned rightful status as a local hip-hop classic. By utilizing live musicians in the studio (former Gadjits keyboardist Ehren Starks and journeyman guitarist Eric Johnson both did outstanding work), ‘Proli (as he’s known to friends) created something special to finally deliver on the promise of all those show-stopping live performances. Soul-powered heaters such as “Hey Y’all” and “Funk Reaction” showed off the best sides of a skilled MC with charmingly upbeat lyrics and an ever-so-slight lisp. The effort was strong enough to attract the attention of Coup d’Etat, a New York imprint that’s released popular underground records from J-Live and MC Paul Barman. The label will reissue Proteus on June 15, giving the disc international distribution for the first time. But local fans who purchased it the first time around probably won’t need to pick up another copy. The updated edition contains a few outtakes and a handful of pointless remixes that do little other than bring the original collection up to album length. The remixes are worth a listen, but none come close to topping the originals, and newbies may find it difficult to digest both indigenous material and reinterpretations in one sitting. If Coup d’Etat intends to break Approach nationally, the label might have been wiser to simply reissue Proteus in its maiden form.

Categories: Music