Friday, 12 June 2009

The Organized Noize Beat Drop at Metal Lungies

I’m two days late, but I think it’s appropriate I’m posting this today – I’ve been listening to Goodie Mob’s Soul Food continuously over the last two days.For lack of a decent pic of Organized Noize, here’s a picture of most of the Dungeon Family. ONP are best known for their production for Outkast, Goodie Mob and the rest of the Dungeon Family collective, but their output goes further than that.

For the uninitiated, the Beat Drop is a regular feature on Metal Lungies, where we choose a producer and each of the site's contributor picks about 5 of their favourite beats by said producer and writes about them. This time we didn’t have any extra special guests, just several writers we respect. I’m proud of this one. My picks were "Watch For The Hook” by Cool Breeze, Goodie Mob’s“The Coming” and “Thought Process”, Outkast’s “Return of the G” and Bubba Sparxxx’s “Wonderful”. Click my blurb on “Watch For The Hook” to read the whole thing.

ONP expertly chop Merry Clayton’s cover of “Southern Man” into pieces and string snatches of its ominous keyboards and a ringing guitar riff together with these fantastic stuttering, stumbling drums. What’s incredible about “Watch For The Hook” is that the instrumental fits each emcee’s voice and flow perfectly — Witchdoctor’s blunted mumble, Cee-Lo’s helium babbling, T-Mo’s fiery bark, Big Gipp’s plain-spoken twang, Big Boi’s slick double-time spitting, Breeze’s authoritative drawl, and so forth. Of course, the lyrics to “Southern Man” share common ground with the more righteous Goodie Mob songs, too.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Marco Polo & Torae Review and Interview at Exclaim!

I recently reviewed Marco Polo and Torae's album Double Barrel over at Exclaim! and did a short interview with the duo. Click the blurb for the full article.

Marco Polo and Torae are touting Double Barrel as a return to the gritty hip-hop coming from New York in the mid-'90s, embodied by groups like Gang Starr, Onyx and the Boot Camp Clik. It's fitting that Double Barrel is being released by Duck Down Records, home of Black Moon, Smif-n-Wessun and Heltah Skeltah. The duo work closely from the blueprint the aforementioned groups originated, with expertly scratched choruses, hard drums and forceful rhyming from MC Torae. NYC-by-way-of-T-Dot producer Marco Polo provides 14 perfectly dusty boom-bap instrumentals, which Torae rips to pieces. Those introduced to the Coney Island-bred rapper through his 2008 mixtape, Daily Conversation, will be surprised by his newly aggressive delivery. When Torae's rhymes equal the intensity of Polo's tracks, the results are hard to dispute. The swirling strings and clipped horns on "But Wait" are matched perfectly with a Sticky Fingaz vocal sample and Torae's potent rhyming. "Smoke" is a blistering posse cut with exemplary tough talk from Lil' Fame from M.O.P. and Rock from Heltah Skeltah, and "Hold Up" has an insistent spy movie theme groove with verses from Sean Price and Masta Ace. Torae delivers his best performance over the ominous, creeping thump of "Lifetime," backed by DJ Revolution's jaw-dropping scratches. Tougher than a pair of old Timbs, Double Barrel is '90s revivalism done right.

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