In a world of many mediocre hip-hop compilations and producer albums featuring a million guest emcees, this album really stands out from the rest. Don't let the horrendous cover design fool ya-this LP is action-packed front to back. Underground stars (Ill Bill, Royce 5'9", Evidence) and Golden Era legends (Special Ed, Kool G Rap, Masta Ace) bless the microphone, and JS-1 comes with nothing but solid production with the help of partner Dub-L. Read more »
Is Too Hot For Solid Steel the ultimate mash-up, or the ultimate DJ-culture political statement? It would be easy to argue both points, but there's something much more gleeful going on here.
On a basic level, Too Hot is a fine example of mash-up-that curiously broad music genre where bits of a recognizable nostalgic pop song are mixed with an equally recognizable dance beat to form an ironic concoction; i.e. a Nirvana hit mixed over a Run DMC drum sample.
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If the first volume of this series from last year didn't put the world on notice about Berlin hometown's exploding beat culture, this 30-track double-CD will leave no doubt that the city's truly on fire. Though Dangerous Drum's focus since it's '01 birth has ostensibly been on uptempo breakbeat, It's a Berlin Thing Vol. Read more »
If some artists make "bedroom" music, Kieran Hebden's is gloriously, unequivocally "outdoors" music. His pastoral Pause was summertime incarnate, hazily ripe and warm "folktronica." Rounds sees Four Tet again creating beauties that are at once densely swarming and breathtakingly expansive as it sets out for journeys across windy bridges by foot. It's a far more dynamic album, with chimes and leaves and scraps of static scuttling along the ground, getting swept into tiny, dizzying vortexes. Much of Rounds feels a shift in cycles, a change of seasons in the air. Read more »
I've considered Lee Fields's "I'm the Man" to be one of the finest pieces of new-school funk for years, and finally it's on an album, surrounded by songs of equal quality. Comparisons to James Brown are inevitable given Lee's vocal style, but Problems is much more than an attempt to ape the Godfather. The production is perfect for this material, full of grit and open spaces, and-perhaps with a nod to future samplers-there are open drumbreaks galore. Read more »
I'm a Souls of Mischief fan, so I automatically raise the bar on quality. "Spark," to me, is a good song-nice head-bob beat and the rhymes are cool, but sound compromising. These guys are better than what they portray on this record. I would suggest they listen to the Politics of the Business album and re-record their material. Read more »
Gourmet offers up "spiritual awareness" from Brique Rouge label founder David Duriez. With its spoken-word message, this tightly produced record is strong enough 2 exorcise any demon on the dancefloor and dark enough 2 shine through the soul. Read more »
He's a slippery character, that John Tejada. Just when you think you've got a hold on where he's coming from-along comes another project, or alias, and he wriggles free. Everything At Once, sees the prolific producer pair up with guitarist and bassist Takeshi Nishimoto-with heavily folk-accented electronica the end result. Perhaps ironically, on an album dominated by subtlety and soft swathes of sound, the urgent "Make Sense And Loose"-where the guitar is underpinned by sharp beats and distorted bass growls-proves a standout, and a possible hit on the more adventurous dancefloor. Read more »
Gold Chains's debut full-length is full of musings on the evils of fame and crass materialism, although to try to make out any sort of linear storyline from his lyrics would be a total waste of time. Chains bounces back and forth between rapping about sex and offering social commentary, throwing in plenty of metaphors along the way. Read more »
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