Samiyam Sam Baker’s Album
Back in 2008, Samiyam kicked off FlyLo’s Brainfeeder label with Rap Beats Vol. 1. Now, he returns to the imprint yet again, this time armed with 40 minutes of non-stop, syrupy head-nodders. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sam Baker’s Album is more of a beat tape than it is a comprehensive work, and with almost half of its tracks clocking in under two minutes, it feels like the LA-based producer is simply showcasing a smattering of ideas over the course of the LP’s 17 selections. That's not to say that they aren’t good ideas; Samiyam’s place high amongst the list of dusty beatsmiths is clearly warranted, as the record proves yet again that the man knows his way around side-chained chords, dripping G-funk, and swaggering boom-bap like a true veteran. But his talents are utilized most interestingly on songs like “Turtles” or “Lifesized Stuffed Animal,” where he skims the corners of futuristic jazz long enough to place a curious melody amongst the stoney hip-hop core. Of course, there’s also a healthy amount of straight blunted bangers to be found here, such as colossal album opener “Escape” or the slow-motion mind-warp of “Frosting Pockets.” A blatant reference to “weed cookies,” not to mention the inherent stigma that comes with being part of the LA beat scene, suggests that this is music most likely crafted under and enhanced by the use of a hazy, purple veil. All in all, most every cut on Sam Baker’s Album is solid in its own right, but maybe 40 minutes is just too much, considering that the lines which box in the instrumental hip-hop genre become only more clear as the album pushes on.
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