The MCs haven't quite found their personas on the mic yet, a fact made more obvious by vivid cameos from Slug and Muja Messiah. And for all their stylistic bravura, they seem self-conscious as well as "conscious." Among the few local hip-hoppers to find an audience among both "nerds" and "thugs," the C.O.R.E. worry too much about alienating either: When I ran into them at the Minnesota Music Awards last year, the MCs went so far as to ask that I not mention in print their most unique live feature: their dance moves. (Sorry, guys.)
But sometimes being different is as "street" as it gets. At the gym, they even poke fun at the no-dancing rule among contemporary MCs.
On the ropes: Adonis D. Frazier and Toki Wright of the C.O.R.E