Zomby's just about to release a new album, so it feels pretty
apt to look back to his first, the incredible Where Were U In '92,
released on Werk Discs back in 2008. Zomby's music is ephemeral
like exhaled weed smoke, snakes around like a night bus on
diversion, this track, 'Tears In The Rain' is wrenching, evocative,
ghostly vocals samples collide with rave horns, underpinned by an
echoing beat, like your neighbour having a party next door, and his
paper thin walls providing little protection from the strange,
A Tribe Called Quest's debut album was crowned by the Lou Reed
sampling single 'Can I Kick It'. It was though, a bitty, slightly
immature effort. With most of the vocal duties taken by Q-Tip,
Phife's equally expressive flow was relegated to the odd guest
spot. So it took their second album, The Low End Theory, to really
bring the group's style to maturity. More cohesive, TLET went
against the grain of the dominant sound of late 80s / early 90s
hip-hop. Instead of, for example, Dre's menacing g-funk on The
Chronic, with its pulsing tonality, drenched in the LA dichotomy of
sunshine and gunshots, or the highly political and claustrophobic
beats of the East Coast scene expounded by the likes of Jeru,
Public Enemy and KRS-ONE, ATCQ developed this a broadly jazz
influenced, downbeat and pensive style.
This is exemplified in two singles from it, 'Jazz (We've Got)'
and 'Scenario'. Jazz is pretty straight up, flipping between Q-Tip
and Phife, yet showcase their downtempo, bass heavy sound.
'Scenario' is far more lively, made even livelier by a guest spot
from a young Busta at the end. Possibly his greatest ever.
Real Hip Hop
Hudson Mohawke started off in the much maligned genre (usually
with good reason) of turntablism, being the youngest ever finalist
of DMC at 15. Yet from his youthful dalliances he's grown into a
brilliant producer, and those early experiments have led to HudMo
to develop a gorgeously deconstructive production style. Switching
and tripping on beats across some ludicrously lucious mix of
hip-hop and jazz. Here he's lending his talents to everyone's least
favourite rapper, Chris Brown, who probably doesn't deserve it, but
it's still fantastic. Strictly bootleg.