Who says hip hop isn’t for everyone? Who says you have to come from a certain area, from a certain upbringing, or be in a certain situation to make this type of music? Meet Che Flo, two Carnegie Mellon University students who, in between their studies, found time to pick up a mic, make some beats and bring us their debut effort, Booksmart Idiots.
Booksmart Idiots starts off at a feverish pace and barely lets up, as “The Introduction” sees the two emcees trade verses while running laps around an already bouncy instrumental. Che and Flo, while both fond of double-time rhythms, each carry their own unique style on a verse. It’s clear that these two kids have some serious energy on the mic, and they solidify that claim by delivering several feel-good, fast-moving joints back to back to back (“Top of the World,” “Playground,” and “ElectroParty”). As they consistently rap about what they know, a childhood that evolved into a college career rather than street life, listeners can’t help but believe them and appreciate the honesty as well as the lack of fabricated drug references and street tales.
Che Flo’s carefree vibe and ping-pong flows could draw comparisons to a (very) sped-up Tribe Called Quest, until one begins to wonder if they have anything else to offer. The latter half of Booksmart Idiots serves as a preview to what the duo could evolve into. ”Interlude” showcases their production ability as a 3-minute segment of pure instrumentation segues into one of the tape’s highlights: “Moment of Truth.” Pair that with the closer, “Graduation,” and you have the grounds for a complete sophomore effort.
While they have some natural talent on the mic and behind the production boards, it’s clear that Che Flo is new to rapping, as is evident in their ability, or lack thereof, to ride a slower beat. With continued effort and a refinement of their skills, Che Flo could become an uplifting and positive rap duo, as well as a permission slip for college kids worldwide to enter the booth. Booksmart Idiots carries a great, carefree feeling with it, and one can only hope it is something that Che Flo holds on to in the future.
If you can relate, enjoy the passion brought by two new emcees in Che and Flo on Booksmart Idiots.