Marcum Core, better known as South Carolina beat king MIDIMarc, is a clear disciple of Pimp C, one of Southern rap’s most influential but underheralded producers. One can clearly trace the influence of Pimp C and UGK in MIDIMarc’s material. (See: “Be Strong,” from Fat Rat da Czar’s Inglorious Basterd mixtape.)
On Beats in the Key of C, Core pays ample tribute to his hero, expertly nailing the hallmarks of Pimp C’s sounds: “I Can’t Trill My Face” mimic’s UGK’s trilling, multilayered 808 snare hits; “Power Trill” emulates the hallucinatory haze of the group’s Chopped and Screwed; “A Time to Trill” bumps like it’s coming from the speakers of a Cadillac on 22s; “Trill Players Anthem” reinterprets “International Player’s Anthem,” UGK’s biggest hit.
But the best cuts benefit from Core’s interpretive skills and expertly soulful touch. “Grant Trill” blends Pimp C’s percussive thump with sweet Southern soul for a smooth head-nodder. “South Side Trill” approaches the best of Pimp C’s beats — all blaring horns and swirling church organ and thudding sub-bass.
The criticism, of course, is that as a mostly instrumental beat tape, there’s relatively little variation between tracks, and some cuts last a little too long without any particular compositional development. “Wood Grain Steering Trill,” for instance, is a remarkably gauzy take on Houston screw, but at nearly six minutes, it doesn’t offer too many immediate rewards. But some of the longer cuts here are buoyed by MCs, songs Core cherry-picked from earlier releases.
L’Daialogue’s “Friends,” from the Memphis rapper’s InDAIpendent 2 platter, also stretches to six minutes, but it benefits from fantastic interplay between L’Daialogue’s smooth flow and Core’s horn-backed beat.
Taken as a tribute to Pimp C, this is an interesting, if oblique, look into the lasting influence of a titan of Southern rap. Taken at face value, it further cements Core as one of the finest beatsmiths in the Southeast.
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