Aside from my endless appreciation for Jay Dee’s beats for the Pharcyde back in the day, I was never on top of the J Dilla love fest until, sadly, just about the time of his death. It wasn’t a dislike or opining of low-quality HipHop, but I just didn’t feel it, hadn’t come around to the chopped up approach to HipHop funk. Well, I’ve come full curcle for sure; not only do I dig Dilla’s cuts, but the whole new sub-genre of cut-up, wonky HipHop. In fact, the likes of Dilla, Paul White, Dr. WhoDat?, Onra and many others have gifted me with a fully rejuvenated hope for HipHop. And, they have all proven me wrong in my frumpy, all-too-quick pronouncements of the death of HipHop. I learn my lessons, it just takes me a while occasionally.
So, yet another LA producer comes with a bangin’ set of beats this year, on the trail of fellow SoCal beatsmith Nosaj Thing. The style is choppier than Dilla, but maintains the ability to move butts (whether sitting in front of a computer while writing or dancing). I love the use of snare rolls nearly to the point of excess and the sparse ’70s elevator Jazz samples and Soul vocals that exudes an early People Under The Stairs crate-digging aesthetic. Continuity and flow are never lost in Dak’s chopped-up style, which is key in my mind, because HipHop, as a descendant of Jazz, must always retain that swing.
While this release is basically an EP by standards of length (a hair over 24 minutes), being spread out over 12 tracks makes it transition more like an album. Maybe this is what the EP was really supposed to be, a short work that never reminds you just how short it is, instead, it works tirelessly to expand your sense of time while listening.
At a time when there are no more coast wars in HipHop, I am proud to say that I currently live on the coast that seems to be most concerned with keeping the artform alive. Kudos to Dak for a work well done and I look forward to more to come. This is definitely a recommended release!