''A yo somebody said that hip-hop was dead/ I said listen to Audio Thrift Shop instead''. These are the first words spoken by Florida rap artist, Protoman, on the intro to his latest full length release, ''Analog''. He's pledging his earnest allegiance to the boutique label that puts his music out, Audio Thrift Shop Records, deservingly named Best Local Label by the Broward/Palm Beach Edition of New Times Magazine in 2005. Protoman then backs up this statement by giving the listener 10 well-produced songs. Not 1,000 guest appearances. Not a bunch of unnecessary skits. Not a bunch of loosely constructed freestyles over other peoples beats. Not a string of name-brand product placements. Analog is a dope intro and ten well-produced songs. All killer, no filler. Analogs first track, ''Stand Tall'', is Protoman's impressive ode to Broward County, where this die-hard backpacker rests his head. In the songs first verse he claims that he won't stop spittin til this track is a ring tone, and with his well-seasoned flows and DJ Slices cutting edge production, it might not be long before your phone starts to sound like a Protoman album release party. ''Why Do I?'' is a track where we find Protoman analyzing his spot in the hip-hop game and trying to figure out not only where he fits in, but more importantly, where he wants to fit in. Like many artists, he questions why he does what he does and finds himself at the For the money/ For the love crossroads when he sits down to write. Cathartically, he vents, questions, and dissects, until he comes to his final conclusion about his craft: I love hip-hop, just a little bit more than I hate it. Clearly the most personal of all of Analogs tracks, ''Get Focused'' introduces the listener to a mature artist who knows how to use his lifes harshest pains as inspiration for reaching his goals in life. Although he most likely wrote this track to motivate himself, the songs true power lies in it's ability to have the same motivational effect on the listener. This is the song you'll need to listen to the next time you doubt yourself or feel knocked down. This track changes people. On ''Say What'' we find Protoman trading verses with Bonus, 1/3 of the talented Florida rap trio, Brokensound Blvd., and producer of 4 tracks on the Analog lineup. The two compliment each other like the peanut butter and jelly on a sandwich from straight outta Afrika Bambattas lunch box. Perhaps the one track that best sums up Protoman's image and lifestyle is the Mr. Burns produced, ''Backpacker''. This song can be felt through the speaker of your home stereo system or your cars disc changer, but if you really want to get the full effect of this song, listen to it like Protoman would: Transfer the song from CD to cassette. Put the cassette into your over-sized boom box. Load up your Jansport backpack with notebooks, some black Magnum markers for tagging, and enough show flyers and CDs to fill out the bag. Then jump on the Broward County Transit Route 22 bus for a full day of self-promotion and getting the word out about ''Analog''.
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