E Times 2 come with their fourth full length, Common Thread, this time featuring Gel, Regret and Digit6. The album delivers what listeners would expect from an EX2 record, but as with all their past releases, each new offering updates the formula and brings something unique. The production this time around is handled by Xczirclez, who produced Gel's Beautiful Tragedy record, Calm of the LSD crew, Boise of the CBS crew, and Leineken, who contributed one track. "The Leineken track, it was sort the impetus to the whole album," explains Gel. "I had been doing some solo touring and Digit was with me. We went to Frisco with Tommy V, and we hooked up with the homie Haez, did a random song and then we were like, 'Ok, this is the start of the new EX2 project.'"
And while the production is handled by four different producers, they have crafted a cohesive sound, epitomizing the dark, moody sounds EX2 have delivered since day one. The album opens with a bang, with "Slumpzilla", a sinister track with fantastic, layered production and the battle rap EX2 do best. "Elements Endangered" features founding member Vyrus and a murderous, show stealing verse from Gel. Digit provides a dope solo cut with "What I Had to Do", backed by an evil piano loop courtesy of Calm. Things lighten up momentarily with "Nostalgic Amnesia", with Digit giving some insight into his incarceration. "Kick Tires" is a very tight solo joint by Regret with a moody beat by Xczircles and some dope cuts by Roach the DJ. Gel's solo cut, "Bait and Switch" is delivered over a banging Boise production and sees him asserting his veteran status. Like Resurgence, this album closes with an epic posse cut - "Search Party" - featuring a slew of Project Blowed emcees.
The album is unique in that it heavily features Digit6, who was unable to contribute to any EX2 projects since the LMNTL EP, due to being incarcerated. "Digit was locked up for most of the 2000s," Gel reveals, "so he missed from Nemesis to Resurgence. So to get him back in the mix, full circle, he really crushes this whole album, you know, getting a lot off his chest and saying a lot of stuff he's been wanting to say over the past two records that he missed out on." The album also features several guest spots from AWOL One, fellow EX2 alumni Origin and Vyrus, Haez, Tommy V, Riddlore?, Ellay Khule, Jizzm, NGAFSH, Subtitle, Sach, Existereo, Xczirlces and Aamir.
Common Thread is available on Abolano Records' bandcamp page in digital and CD formats, and Gel has announced there will be limited cassette and vinyl pressings later this year, so stay tuned!