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The Free Ep

by Andy Cooper

Bring It To Me (free) 04:01
Number One (free) 02:49
Do The Charlie Brown (free) 02:48
Blind Faith (free) 03:27
Thanks and Goodnight (free) 04:11


Unlike most rap vocalists Andy has rarely worked outside of his band, but recently he decided to record a six song EP to explore his abilities as an MC and producer. ‘The Free EP’ features a highly creative hip hop veteran showcasing his mastery of fundamental rap skill while, at the same time, daringly pushing the boundaries of lyrical possibility. Andy also holds things down on the beat, using his years of experience as Ugly Duckling co-producer to combine classic, sample-rich sound with a more rugged and modern sensibility. On top of all this, Andy is giving this music away (hence the title) to promote ‘Ear to the Track’, a blog site dedicated to his insights and observations about the world of popular music.

Being that ‘The Free EP’ was Andy’s first undertaking as an individual artist, he was somewhat unsure how to approach the project but once he got immersed in the recording process, he grew to love the freedom that solo work provides. Andy reflects, “U.D. has been the focus of my creative life since I was 18 and almost every idea I’ve ever had was formulated to fit within a group concept. So these days I’m really enjoying the unencumbered liberty to explore my lyrical ability and do things that wouldn’t have made sense within Ugly Duckling”.

On songs like ‘Bring It To Me’ and ‘Number One’, Andy pushes the limits of vocal speed and precision, crafting relentless, ear-scorching rap verses; ‘Number One’ may well contain the fastest stanza ever spit. ‘Do the Charlie Brown’, co-produced by Ugly Duckling’s Young Einstein, is a homage to Andy’s favorite cartoon crew while ‘Blind Faith’ freshly flips an iconic guitar lick from Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood (another benefit of a free album is not worrying about sample clearances) into a bumping, rap instrumental.

‘Thanks and Goodnight’ is a cathartic and thoughtful exploration of an artist’s career built on an uplifting soul back cover 3groove reminiscent of tunes like BDP’s ‘My Philosophy’ or Nas’ ‘Memory Lane’. The final track, ‘Ashes to Ashes’ is an eerie and challenging track which blends dark, piercing electro rhythms with gritty, funk drum breaks and general strangeness. This haunting soundscape supports Andy’s scathing ode to hip hop's culture and, according to him, unfortunate demise.

“From my viewing point, mainstream hip hop is more of a clown show than anything else, which is sad because many of the rappers who participate in what I would call ‘buffoonery for the sake of commercial success’ are actually very talented people.”

Obviously projects come and go faster than I can finish this sentence but ‘The Free EP’ is truly worth digesting because it challenges the standard hip hop formulas on the market. Rather than jumping on the latest trend or standing firm on old school principles, Andy utilizes all the resources of experience, technology, and a relentlessly imaginative mind to offer something traditional yet exciting and relevant. Any listener who is an authentic connoisseur of rap music will be both stimulated and energized by this release, which is truly and literally a gift to weary hip hop fans who have just about given up on the genre. ‘The Free EP’ is the product of Andy Cooper’s thousands of hours of labor in studios and stages across the world so while the songs may be absolutely free they definitely didn’t come cheap.


released April 28, 2015

Written, produced, vocalized and turntablefied by Andy Cooper. 'Do the Charlie Brown co-produced with Young Einstein. 'Blind Faith' and 'Ashes to Ashes' co-produced with 'Jungle' Josh Barlow. Background vocals by Tina Cooper. Recorded and mixed at 'Funky Dividends' by Andy and Jungle Josh. Mastered by Jon St. James and Jungle Josh.


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Ugly Duckling Long Beach, California

Ugly Duckling is a hip hop group from Long Beach, California. Formed in 1993, the group has released five full length albums in addition to their debut EP, Fresh Mode, which was released in 1999. Celebrating the classic style of hip hop, MC's Andy Cooper and Dizzy Dustin rocks shows all over the world with the help of their DJ, Young Einstein. ... more

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