Filed under: Uncategorized
As a certified beat head, a pleasing trend in hip hop over the last few years has been the release of innumerable instrumental releases by some of the finest producers in the game. At their best, these works can be creatively exciting and as engaging as those with rhymes (think Donuts and K-Def’s now shelved Willie Boo Boo The Fool, both of which are prime examples of this formula working exceptionally well) but unfortunately the picture ain’t entirely rosy. For every great instrumental album released there are also a slew of albums that fall victim to a permeating sense of mediocrity and a feeling that somebody simply threw together their off cuts in an attempt to put something out there: quality control doesn’t always seem to be at the top of the agenda. With this in mind, which camp is Large Pro’s recently released Beatz Vol. 2 gonna fall into? Let’s find out…
Let me start by saying that the first installment of the series, the aptly named Beatz Vol. 1, was a disappointment for me. It wasn’t that any of the material was terrible, far from it in fact, but the overall package felt somewhat half-baked. Whereas the aforementioned success stories relied on around 40 beats or so and relatively swift transitions to maintain momentum, Beatz Vol. 1 was sixteen cuts deep, with the majority hovering around the three minute mark. Although every joint on the album had something to say for itself, the release as a whole lacked punch or dynamism and the result was a collection of songs that ultimately left me feeling a little flat. Having said this, a few of the cuts do still manage to drift into my consciousness from time to time, and this has meant that the album has managed to stay in rotation over the past year despite not really delivering the goods: it is Large Pro, after all.
Thankfully, Beatz Vol. 2 is better than its predecessor. For starters, a funkier aesthetic imbues the album as a whole, making this feel a little more like the much loved Extra P of the early ’90s. Tracks such as ‘We Have A Winner’ and ‘The Highst’ reek of hip hop from days gone by, and despite a lack of originality (’The Highst’ even employs the much used Lee Dorsey drum break), they’re more than enough to get you open. The album also feels more consistent than the last, and with very few skippable numbers, it’s certainly entertaining. Nevertheless, despite these pluses, it’s not likely to be a release that you listen to front to back that often.
And why? Put simply, just like Beatz Vol. 1, there just isn’t enough here in terms of quantity and what there is lacks economy. Listening to a whole album of instrumentals is all well and good, but unless it is music of the very highest calibre, your interest is likely to be lost long before the track comes to a close. Unfortunately for Large Pro, this is the case with the latest installment in his instrumental series.
However, this doesn’t totally destroy its appeal. If you’re a dedicated fan like me then you definitely shouldn’t hesitate in copping it, but bear in mind that the album requires that level of passion from its purchasers to really warrant the price of admission. Although I’m gonna enjoy Vol. 2 while it lasts, keep your fingers crossed for Vol. 3: I know I will be.