Indy Hip Hop World

"A setback is just a setup for a comeback." --from Bebe Moore Campbell's "72 Hour Hold"

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Hearing and healing ...

The summer music just keeps on flowing and I want you to be in the know. If you don't have any of the hot tracks, you should at least be knowledgeable of who is 'bout it.

Here is what I am diggin this week: Earmint and Aloe Blacc.

I've had both of these cds for several weeks. I have been spinning them equally (alongside the Ghostface Killah and Oh No).

First, Earmint was a pleasant surprise. I almost overlooked it, but my attentive summer intern brought it to my attention. Earmint is the beat maker and a wonderful beatmaker he is. His "Another Early Evening" was bangin on the very first track, "The Flashy Slang" featuring PsalmOne. "The Flashy Slang" has a nice slow rhythm to it. Psalm One gives the song flavor with her style of lyricism. But forgive me if I'm wrong, but I went to put this track in rotation on my radio show and I believe the hook on the song says "...let ya nuts hang, hang..." It's a bit crafty and I did not take my chances on putting it on the air. And of course, since the phrase in question is in the hook, I did not bother to perform an edit. Who is at a loss here...? My die hard listeners - both of them, oh yeah. Record companies kill me - they edit some of the profanity, but they leave in 'flashy slang.' Anyway, Earmint is flowing with the beats throughout the project. And despite his skill set, he enlists the talents of Murs, Longshot, Roc C, Illogic and others. It's a little less than an hours worth of sound, but you will dig this one, fo sho.

I've mentioned the Aloe Blacc project previously. I warmed up to it nicely, but I am just getting around to writing about it. "Shine Through" is a combination of hip hop, R&B, latin beats and more. Just good music with hip hop interwoven throughout. Blacc puts his spin on two classics, yet he manages to personalize each one and makes them his own. The first track is "Long Time Coming." You remember this one best from the Sam Cooke catalogue - "A Change is Gonna Come". The musical composition is unique - some sampling and with a snare drum kicking it thoughout. On this track, Blacc's voice is somber yet hopeful. Nice cover.

Then Blacc goes and touches John Legend's "Ordinary People" - in spanish! (it shows up as untitled track #15, though there are only 14 tracks listed for the disk). I'd first read about this and I thought, 'oh no ... that's death on vinyl or disk.' Boy was I wrong. Blacc gives the track a lil salsa flava and the song remains recognizable yet fresh. Again, his voice has just the right amount of intonation and it is so soothing to listen to. I think John Legend would enjoy it. Overall, I really like the entire Aloe Blacc cd from front to back. It is in the 'A' range. He lets go with his lyrical flow on "Caged Birdsong" and I like that one a lot. Blacc has a great deal of creativity and variety on this project. Love that.

One more thing, the new DMX - "Year of the Dog Again" - is out and though he is far from indy/underground, his message is on par with my style - positivity. I like the track
"Lord Give Me a Sign." How many times have I put in that very request? You too, huh? Of course, X brings it with his usual grimy delivery and he nails it. His aggressive style just get me hyped and makes me feel authoritative. He has these catchy, sing-songy hooks. Works every time.

So now you know what I know, but don't let it go to waste (like your Sunday evenings watching a certain 'video' channel - and ask me how I know what you are watching?) ... stay true, kfox

NOTE: cd cover art courtesy of the respective record companies.

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Anonymous Daniel said...

glad you liked the Earmint CD. -dan @ EV Records.

5:27 PM  

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