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Although certain album releases get more than their fair share of exposure around these internets (American Gangster being the obvious flavour of the last fortnight or so) there are an even greater number of LPs that only muster a brief mention or two before sinking rapidly into relative obscurity. This is in part reflective of the sheer volume of easily accessible releases kickin’ about at any one time, but also of the resistance of bloggers (myself included) to cover anything that is already deemed to be old news, even though old news in internet time could mean a time frame that is measured in units as small as hours. This is a damn shame, because in this hectic climate of quick fixes and a relentless focus on ‘the next big thing’ there are often albums of serious quality that really don’t seem to get the credit they deserve.
As a result, the next couple of posts here at FDB will focus on recent full lengths that have struck me as grossly under-represented by the blog scene, and which deserve further exposure despite their moment in the virtual sun having already passed. Nothing exclusive here people, just some recommendations that may have understandably flown under your radar as you duck and weave your way through the vast and treacherous skies of an ever-expanding blog scene.
Many Stories To Tell – Y Society
About six months ago I was briefly obsessed by some guy referring to himself as ‘dopegraffhead’ on YouTube. Having rampantly digested each and every one of his videos in which he recreated classic jams with incredible deftness behind the boards (you can watch them all here) I was left wondering if he might translate these skills into his own production work and officially release something. Sure enough, last month saw Travel At Your Own Pace, a collaboration between the man in question, Damu Tha Fudgemunk, and one of my favourite active MCs, Insight.
Clearly rooted in boom bap aesthetics, Travel At Your Own Pace is a fine example of how to use the past to your advantage whilst avoiding an end product that is entirely derivative. Damu’s beats contain all the hallmarks of hip hop’s golden era, but their rich texture and infectious head-nodding vibe mean that there is enough here to keep the formula feeling modern and fresh. ‘This Is An Introduction’ is one of the clear standouts for me, featuring a couple of tasty loops, a perfectly executed scratch chorus hook and a hefty dose of reverberating horns all backed up by a drum track that has a satisfying punch. Fortunately, it’s not the only cut to savour here, and it is a general indication of the consistent quality you can expect from the album as a whole: just check ‘Scientist’ and ‘Setting The Example’ if you’re looking for the proof.
It’s always pleasing to see a one producer/one MC effort in these days of jam-packed production rosters and multiple guest verses, and Insight holds up his side of the bargain admirably. A tight flow and energetic delivery are the key features of his style, so much so that the content is somewhat lost on me: it’s the inherent musicality and sense of passion in his rhymes that captivates me above anything else. Having thoroughly enjoyed Insight’s previous outings on wax, it’s great to see the Bostonian MC still killin’ it over some dope production in 2007.
With very little skipping material and a sense of real cohesion, this is an album that has stayed in rotation for me for months (how many albums have done that for you recently?!). Chisel out a window in your hectic schedule and give it a well deserved spin: although this may not be ground breaking material, I have enjoyedTravel At Your Own Pace as much as any other release this year.