Somewhere between the glory of the three rivers, the stretching hills, the sprawling Strip, or the Yinzer mentality; Strict Flow preserved a triple threat of beats, rhymes, and steel city heat that could only be connected by a city of bridges. On their 1997 release Homegrown, the ability to flow over a record that is now slowly hitting the peak of 25 years old reflects on the Shadow Lounge back alley’s where versatility was key.
Subtly behind hip-hop may seem like a technique of the past with a new formation of 808’s that strike over often bombastic beat, Strict Flow did it differently. The instrumentation became present through Pittsburgh legend E. Dan who people know as one of the masterminds behind ID Labs. This sense of immaculate and detailed roots below the music displays a sense of pride behind the city’s rich history. With references to The O, North Side, Oakland, and the 412 mantra that became creation beyond boundaries.
Homegrown appears as one of the best-kept secrets of Pittsburgh’s hip-hop life as the rhymers and producers known as Strict Flow begin to make their rounds as individuals. With Masai Turner, Sled Chahrour, Chad L. Glick, and Eric Dan as the four horsemen of the musical slaughtering that pounds as Pittsburgh’s closest thing to A Tribe Called Quest. The production is often a soft, boom bap style that collects in such a way that each track feels as another step in the long-winded journey to Pittsburgh’s musical impact.
The record aged fantastically however and has some tracks that still hold a core momentum behind them. As Homegrown continues, the tracks have these spoken word interludes that feature what appear to be interview segments from past recordings that are woven into these transitions. As a whole, the record feels familiar and fits almost perfectly into the palm of the listener’s hand. Just like the Fort Pitt tunnels that provides an entryway into Pittsburgh, Strict Flow uses “Somethin’ Like This” as one of the final dap-ups to the record.
With the images of Homegrown starting to crawl into the rearview mirror, Strict Flow is a fascinating look into the roots of hip-hop in Pittsburgh. Before the pillars of Omega, there was the Alpha that became sculpted by Strict Flow.
Listen/Download Homegrown Here!!! – Strict Flow – Homwgrown Zip