Rappers Space and J. Toth merge for new STL sound
By Kenya Vaughn Of the St. Louis American
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 8:50 PM CST
Scene veterans Space (the Committee) and J. Toth (Frozen Food Section) partner up in ‘Circumcising The Industry.’ Photo by Wiley Price
“You know you’re on to something when people hate severely,” said J. Toth, regarding the ambitiously titled Circumcising The Industry.
But Toth and his partner Space have mastered the art of shutting down preconceived notions of the homogenized hip-hop industry.
The title means different things - for example, cutting off the unnecessary part of the industry. In a conversation that included vocabulary like “triple entendre,” it was obvious J. Toth and Space are not typical rappers.
“He doesn’t sound like a rapper, and he’s white - that’s two strikes,” Toth described the usual first reaction to his flow.
“But once you lay back and understand hip hop, which is an international language, suddenly everything else falls aside and you just connect.”
When the CD’s first track kicks off with an intro from Sam Cooke’s “Change Gonna Come” and leads into the hook for “Born By The River” - which, of course, refers to the Mississippi - you know this is not your typical catchy sing-a-long that has become synonymous with St. Louis
Samples range from old-school soul to current rock, with different characters and guest appearances by the likes of Toyy, Kenautis Smith, Black Spade, Teck and Young Threat.
The duo rises from different backgrounds, races, even age groups (Space is in his early 20’s while Toth is a decade older). Their styles blend similar to Outkast, if Andre 3000 were Greg Brady with a Grateful Dead swagger and Big Boi was Kanye meets Lupe with a side of Ludacris.
“I don’t tell people that my counterpart is a white dude, I just kinda let them find out,” said Space. “It’s kind of like when John Stockton stepped on the basketball court. He is a great assist man and he made me a better assist man.”
Both come into the group with their own reputations. Space is a proud member of the Committee and Toth has been working in the industry as a producer and rapper since the 90’s with his own label called the Frozen Food Section.
“I like working with Space because I dig people who aren’t afraid to kill the rhyme and cut the edge as much as possible,” Toth said.
The concept of the project is the argument of pop versus underground. “Underground keeps me down, but it don’t keep me fed,” Space raps in one song.
“We’re different, and difference implies spontaneity and freshness,” Toth said. “I enjoyed taking it in a different direction than ‘my way or the highway.’”