Album review: 'Polish Your Skillz,' by Non Stop Krooks

Patrick Varine

When I think Florida hip-hop, I think Rick Ross. Or, if I’m thinking negatively, Quad City DJs.

What I don’t think of is Non Stop Krooks, who drop a potent mixtape that’s equal parts political exploration and East-Coast hardcore hip-hop aesthetic. (Editor's note: I don't usually review mixtapes, but this one is actually available online, as opposed to a box in some guy's trunk).

True to the mixtape format, most of the beats feel a bit half-finished, mostly minor-key soul loops and well-placed orchestra chops. But the political-minded raps of MCs Prolific and Cojaxx help to keep the weightier beats afloat.

“Savage” works a sinister organ loop as the Krooks examine the criminal underbelly of America, and soaring strings drive “Progress,” as guest MCs Sabac Red and C-Rayz Walz delve into U.S. politics and media (“Strip your soul from your flesh and burn your physical/I’m not your typical political lyrical individual/It’s real life/Progress is process/So open up your mind and take heed to what Sabac says”).

But some of the straightforward street tracks provide the disc’s best moments: a lazy horn chop powers “X-Tacee,” and a similarly laid-back synth-and-piano loop snakes through “I’m a Legend,” both of which feature nice guest verses from Jersey MC Kice of Course.

Even a winking ironic moment – “Rump Pum Pum Pum,” which starts with Cojaxx noting, “We need to do some sell-out s***” and then proceed to make a roughed-up banger that tosses barbs at gangsta clichés and that most favorite topic of mainstream rappers: the ladies – works well.

Non Stop Krooks are supposedly in talks to find a distributor for their true debut. In the meantime, though, "Polish Your Skillz" is a pretty good way to bide your time.

Keep an eye out for these guys.

"Polish Your Skillz" is available at

Sussex Countian