Escape the Yard from San Francisco-based Outsiders Syndicate and produced by Chicago’s DJ MROK featuring Artifacts emcee El da Sensei drops on Black Buffalo Records.
El da Sensei and Syndicate founder Nord1kone are joined by fellow Syndicate emcees The I.M.F., Jimmy Beatz, and Cyph4. MROK handles cuts with Syndicate DJ LMT Break cutting on closing track Colors of the Jungle. The six-track splatter vinyl and cassette release features artwork from graffiti artist Joey Green.
The album provides an ode an underappreciated element of hip hop. The album tackles graffiti’s dichotomy as artform and criminalized offence. Through its lyrical content, NY Boom Bap beats, graffiti inspired production samples, and snippets from seminal graffiti cinema, including 1983’s Style Wars, Escape the Yard is a journey into the subway tunnels and train yards.
“We wanted to make an album dedicated to graffiti artists that they could listen to and hear themselves in each of the tracks,” said DJ MROK. “Graffiti is underappreciated as one of the four elements and without it, hip hop would not be what it is today. We wanted to create a soundtrack that the muralists, stencil and sticker artists, and taggers could relate to.”
The project is at time menacing and foreboding, according to MROK, who cites his affection for and influence from the Philly Wicked graf-style. “The (Philly-style) murals were angular and sharp and felt like you would cut your fingers on it.” While at other times vibrant and beautiful, Escape the Yard is an opus dedicated to the oft-scorned element.
‘Vandal / tag bandit / hittin’ up your transit / both hands branded in all city rampant’
Outsiders Syndicate – Escape the Yard – Produced by DJ MROK
West Side: Vocals
1. Pass the Paint
2. All City
3. Escape the Yard
4. Art of War
5. Ghost Yard
6. Colors of the Jungle
East Side: Instrumentals
About Outsiders Syndicate
The Outsiders Syndicate is a hardcore hip hop collective consisting of emcees Nord1kone, The I.M.F., Jimmy Beatz and Cyph4, as well as producers LMT Break, DJ MROK and Chef Mike. Every track they create is dedicated to promoting the four original elements of hip hop culture.
About DJ MROK
DJ MROK is a Chicago-based hip hop producer, beatmaker and skratcher with a passion for golden era boom bap, samples and breakbeats.