Bottom Brick's been building something solid for about a decade now, but after 2008's "The Groundbreaking," they pulled back for a minute to further hone their skills. The first fruits of the subtle remodeling come in the form of "Live Fast or Die Slow," an EP they'll unveil Saturday at Carabar.

Bottom Brick's been building something solid for about a decade now, but after 2008's "The Groundbreaking," they pulled back for a minute to further hone their skills. The first fruits of the subtle remodeling come in the form of "Live Fast or Die Slow," an EP they'll unveil Saturday at Carabar.

"I feel like this record's a new beginning for us," said Brandon Pritchard, who raps and engineers as Adjust. "We took a little bit of time off and got really correct with what we wanted to do."

The EP represents not a stylistic shift but a refined skill set after years of honing their craft. The trio - Pritchard plus rapper-producer John Haskin (Seance) and DJ-producer Chuck Johnson (Product) - has a dizzying array of side projects that spans a wide spectrum of sounds inside and outside hip-hop. Pritchard and Johnson even logged some production work for talents such as Dane Terry and Megan Palmer.

Despite the members' ever-expanding sonic palettes, they're steered by an internal quality control that dates back to their days as Hilliard Darby classmates.

"We're three branches of government here," Pritchard said. "We've got checks and balances."

"Live Fast or Die Slow" is steeped in classic New York hip-hop. Scratching, breakbeats and thumping bass are Bottom Brick's currency - the sort of beats you'd hear the likes of Ghostface and Joell Ortiz attacking. Lyrically, too, the EP is fraught with time-honored tropes and the kind of docile rapping that pleases hip-hop purists.

Bottom Brick isn't beholden to such standards, but keeping their output classic is one way they keep it quality.

"When we go on the road, I don't judge the crowds. I judge it by the bartenders. I judge it by the older people in the crowd," Pritchard said. "I just want to make good music. I want to make something my dad's proud of."