We've had a lot of people comment on our the Who Cares if We're Dope? artwork, so I wanted to take a moment to give a quick shout out to TNES from Hippoe.com and explain the thought process behind this Season, and the art.

The thought process behind the Season title, Who Cares if We're Dope?, was basically our way of saying that we are doing trying to compete or impress anyone.  Our latest music was very much made for us, and everyone involved in the project, but as we were making it, we realized we had to put it out.  When we emailed TNES about our idea, he had the Hippoe over to us within a few hours... If you look close, it's a dude, inside a Hippoe suit, trying to be a rhino - which to me meant, he's trying to be something he's not; over and over again.  
What's funny is that when we sent around the artwork to our team, 1 or 2 responders felt like it might need, "more".  So, I asked, "like what?"

The responses were anything from, 'a street light', 'a 40oz', 'a blunt' etc etc ... The irony is that all of those things would contradict our intent!  The intent is to stay away from hip hop cliches and do 'us', whatever 'us' may be ... 

For those who dig the cover art - thanks for the positive feedback and be sure to check out Hippoe.com !!!! For those who think it could have been 'busier', think about what you would have put onto the cover instead... would it have been 'dope'? 

The Aztext and E-Train, Who Cares If We're Dope? Vol. 1 Album Review

By Dan Bolles [12.15.10] (Elevated Press Records, digital download)

When the Aztext’s last effort, The Sacred Document, rocked local ears in 2007, the trio stood at the head of the class in terms of both Vermont hip-hop and, arguably, local music in general. Since then, as the talented trio has maintained a low profile, Burlington’s hip-hop scene has undergone something of a renaissance. Where local hip-hop was once defined by a handful of disparate artists making ripples independently, the scene has jelled into a community, with several artists seemingly poised to make a cannonball splash. The prevailing wisdom was that the Aztext, widely acknowledged as the cream of the local crop in 2007, would be the first to make the leap. Almost four years later, and with a dynamic series of releases on deck for 2011, the group may finally make good on that paused promise. Exhibit A: Who Cares If We’re Dope? Vol. 1.

Rather than release a single full-length, the Aztext are taking advantage of a shifting paradigm in the music industry and debuting the album online as a series of “episodes,” each helmed by a different producer. It’s a savvy move. One, by dropping a new EP every two months, the band remains relevant long after the newness of a single release might fade. Two, by enlisting a variety of producers, the Aztext can highlight their signature versatility without sacrificing the continuity crucial to a cohesive album. Three, the EP is just friggin’ sick.

Vol. 1 was produced by longtime friend E-Train, of Vermont-born and San Fran-based hip-hop outfit the Loyalists. But he’s not the only notable guest. The lead cut, “Time Is Just a Glare” features VT expat Wombaticus Rex providing a cunning counter to Learic and Pro’s smooth, cerebral flow.

“Just Like That” highlights the Aztext’s greatest asset: the contrasting interplay between MCs. Learic balances Pro’s high-flying linguistic acrobatics with a measured yet aggressive cool.

“Rainy Day” is signature Aztext. Smart, subtle and incisive, it reaffirms everything we love but had perhaps forgotten about the group during their recent hiatus.

The EP closes on “Waiting,” which features Pro unleashing tongue-tying lines with startling ease over a sinewy half-time bounce.

It’s a shame we haven’t heard from the Aztext since George W. Bush was president. But Vol. 1 alone is worth the wait. Who cares if they’re dope? We do.

Who Cares If We’re Dope? Vol. 1 is available at iTunes, eMusic and Juno.

"“The Aztext and E Train: Who Cares if We’re Dope? Vol 1″ is the first installment, and let me tell you, shit is fire. I knew they would come hard with the new music, but was not ready for the dope stuff they have put together. I feel that everybody should appreciate true hip-hop like this."

- Nazztee Music blog
"Speaking of new music, I’m excited to pass along that VT hip-hop heavyweights the Aztext have finally released the long-awaited follow-up to 2007’s The Scared Document. Or, at least, they’ve started to. Rather than release a traditional full-length, the trio is dropping its latest episodically, like a TV season. The first episode, The Aztext & E-Train: Who Cares If We’re Dope? Vol. 1 debuted Tuesday, December 7, on Elevated Press Records. Future episodes will come out every two months. And, not to spoil the review of the season premiere that will appear in these pages next week: This thing was worth the wait."  - Dan Bolles of 7dvt.com