City of Dirty – Bully Blinders Breakfast Review

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cityofdirtCity of Dirt is exactly how it sounds. It’s an album that is a bit rough around the edges. It’s not very polished – and has a dirty kind of texture to the soul/horn samples and vocals that make up the tracks.

The mixing is not done perfectly (at times it’s even difficult to hear what Emcee Mike Talls is actually saying).

The imagery he uses is dark and grimy. City of Dirt and the BULLY BLINDERS (Talls and producer/bassist Chad Tuthill) create such a memorable music experience. Unpolished and gritty, Talls weaves lively stories together, each with their own feeling and message.

Usually when listening through an LP, most of the tracks just meld together leaving nothing that truly stands out. City of Dirt is different; it has something that remains with the listener.

Although Talls tackles topics that are usual “food for thought” for any underground emcee (life on the road, the education system, striving to get by), he does so in a way that is both unique to his style and very lyrically exciting.

Talls also does something during his tracks, and does it quite well. As many great emcees do, he takes a topic like cereal or TV (“Continental Breakfast” or “The Charlie Sheen Theme” respectively) and uses characteristics of these subjects to tell a story.

Listening to him rap and actually make sense about the early 90’s TV show “Small Wonder” and Soleil Moon Frye of Punkie Brewster is nothing short of a “small wonder” (get it?..lame).

Continental Breakfast’s are both delicious and usually consist of a wide range of products.  In easily my favorite song on the CD (and quite possibly one of my favorite songs about food period), Talls and lyrical companion emcee Parker Edison do exactly that. They offer a delicious song while vividly tackling an assortment of breakfast topics.

They rip through hooks about Rice Krispies, Back to the Future toys, and how much of an ass hole Captain Crunch really is. When they perform this song live they make it even more exciting by throwing small boxes of breakfast cereal at the crowd (ingenious!).  So when sitting down with both emcees it was no surprise that our discussions ultimately led to why 2% milk doesn’t hold a fight to whole milk.

“The milk thing is what people get all fired up about,” Talls says. “It’s not for me. I grew up on whole milk – can’t go backwards – if it’s too creamy for them they can go eat fruit.  Skim milk creeps me out.”

After Talls settled down on the milk issue he talked about how Bully Blinders came together. Talls is originally from the four person hip hop collective The Kneehighs. He decided that he had some material which was a little bit darker and more expressive that needed to be let out.

So in the Kneehigh’s downtime (they’re currently discussing how to go about their next LP), he has been able to really build The Bully Blinders project into something that represents what Mike Talls is all about.

He discussed how the name The Bully Blinders has its origins from the movie The Goonies. I speak up a bit and mention that I’ve actually never seen that film.  Talls looks at me concerned and jokes, “How are you not a Fan of that film, it is one of my favorites!”

He mentions that he developed much of his inspiration for his album from the late 80’s/early 90’s vibe, hence the song “Charlie Sheen Theme.”  He also draws inspiration lyrically from artists like Talib Kweli and Del the Funky Homosapien (he does a mean version of “If You Must”).

Parker Edison (the other emcee featured on “Continental Breakfast”) echoes Talls on his disdain for skim milk.  “Has to be whole milk…no, you don’t get it, it has to be whole milk.”

He’s one half of the San Diego duo, Parker&theNumberman and has been tackling the hip hop scene for quite some time. His first recorded rap is from 11 years ago.  He is inspired by artists like Rakim, Queen Latifah, Ice Cube, Nas, and DJ Clue.

“Rap and food go together so well. I’d die without both. Hands down, I’d die without both.”  Besides being featured on this track, he’s made it a mission to release a full length solo album, The Tony Parker Project, as well as a new Parker&theNumberman album by the Spring.

Their philosophy on life is something that can be shared by the every man, which is quite possibly why they are so dang likeable and easy to enjoy on stage. It can be best summed up in the first line spit within “Continental Breakfast.”

“Been working my butt off, just for these fruit loops, with only two scoops to show for it, like ooo, oooo.”

Ok, I’ll bite. I’ll say it out loud too – “ooo, ooo.”

Don’t we all deserve more than just two scoops of fruit loops in our life?

You can find more information about BULLY BLINDERS at

You can find more information about Parker Edison at

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