And some new DJ Spinna, some more old Klaus, and a brief rant. And this joint above which I had languishing in the sale crates like a moron until the other day. And who knows what else. Today is the day I accepted the writing on the wall that the Raiders will be moving to LA after this season as an inevitable fact, so I’m in a weird mood. Fuck sports. Let’s talk about rap.
First, the rant- the “exclusive” Record Store Day joints are fucking back, like they are every year. At least that dumbass overpriced Wu-Tang 12” repress, and the KMD CD box set are. I’m sure there will be a few more to trickle out over the next month. Record Store Day kinda sucks.
Clear Soul Forces- Fab 5ive
Clear Soul Forces should be the group that both us old heads and the high school kids bug out to together. But for whatever reasons, they have not appeared to get much play outside of serious rap nerd circles. Originally four members with occasional outside production for their first two albums, this time around Nameless supplies all the beats.
They’re often described as “old school rhymes over new school beats,” but that neither does them justice nor aptly describes their sound. The beats aren’t old school by any means, especially on this record. But they first caught my ear rhyming over impeccable Kankick production (which they apparently never paid for. A buddy of mine grew up with Kankick and put me onto the beef- I just checked for the dis track he put up on Soundcloud a couple years ago but it’s been taken down), they caught a lot of burn off a track flipping the Return Of The Crooklyn Dodgers beat, and they’ve recycled a more obscure, vibey Dilla beat on each of their last two records. These gentlemen are indeed from Detroit, and that’s probably the best reference point for the sound their bringing.
Their first album, I really dig. The second album has been steady peaking out my stacks for the last year because I want to listen to it more often, but I haven’t fallen in love with it yet. This one though, they nailed it. And I think it’s mostly because even as a beat-head, holy shit are these guys ever putting it down on the mic.
They’ve always been rhyme savages, moreso than I’m usually into. They rap like it’s the last song they will ever make, every time. It’s almost on a nerd rap, too much level. But they stepped their game up lyrically in a big way on this record. The only thing “old school” about them is the references. And it’s fucking weird, because I’m pretty sure these guys are at least 15 years younger than me, but I swear they’re rapping at my generation. They’re talking about Pete Maravich and Scott Hall and shit... hella wrestling references, in fact. It’s like instead of inheriting their uncles’ record collections, they got their brains. It’s awesomely odd.
And with the airtight verbals, they went with pretty much all bangers on the beats this time. I was real nervous for this record. Crew that was supposed to blow that didn’t, on their third LP... when I don’t know anybody else who’s listening to them, I can’t assume they’re getting many more chances. And sure enough they put out their best, hardest, and most consistent record all at once. There are a couple familiar samples on here. One was from an interlude on the King Geedorah LP, there is some M.O.P. flippage, which is always welcome... and there are some horns on there that if I told you what they were from you’d probably roll your eyes, but when you hear them it’s “oh shit.” I got some favorite cuts on here, but it is easy as hell to just rock this all the way through. Great, great record.
DJ Spinna- Compositions 4
Prince Paul, Pete Rock, and DJ Premier are the Holy Trinity of rap production. And immediately following them, for me at least, is DJ Spinna.
Spinna seems to be living the dream. He works hard as a DJ, touring the world, dropping in wherever the night before or after his headline gig in town, and then still making quality beats in various genres, as he’s been doing for over 20 years now. The fourth installment in his instrumental rap series is the first to cross the line from EP to full-length (including a 7”), and is probably my favorite.
The suspense in these releases has always been what instros from previously released songs he’s going to include. This time there was only one that I’m up on, a remix he did for a song off the last Dela album we were talking about here recently. It’s all got that classic Spinna sound with the space-bass, all slow to mid-tempo. It reminded me of the stuff he did with Shaun Escoffery so it wouldn’t surprise me if some of these joints were meant to be sung over. Which would make them R&B songs, even though they’re rap beats, and the resulting records would probably be put in the house section. It can be a pain in the ass to be a Spinna fan.
Klaus Layer- Es Ist Wie Ein Kreis (It’s Like A Circle) (2013)
Here it is, the last of the Klaus records bigger than a single. This is a six-track 10” EP, and it’s as good or better than everything we’ve talked about so far. There are a few non-psyche vocal samples on this one which is a change. And there might be more tracks on this one that I would play out than on any of his LPs. Klaus! Klaus! Klaus!
A buddy of mine with similar taste was telling me the other day that he’s feeling the majority of the current crop of German producers even more than he is the Klaus shit. That was not what I wanted to hear after just spending 70 euros on that 3 Shades Of Rhythm record from Germany.
It’s looking fairly bleak on the new release front for the next month or so. New Raw Poetic and K-Def should be at the shop tomorrow, and then not much poppin until Petestrumentals 2 next month- HOWEVER! Some of my favorite peeps just self-released three records the other day, so hopefully those are on their way across the country right now. I’ve been holding out on you guys for a couple years now, it’s probably about time to spill the beans...