Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Jeremiah Jae and L-Orange- Cinematic Noir Rap

L'Orange and Jeremiah Jae- The Night Took Us in Like Family

If you are the kind of person who has a difficult time when an artist you like releases an album that is a little different than what you expected, then you probably don't understand why I've been posting so much hip-hop music lately. Truthfully, I am a child of the 80's, and this was the decade where the seeds of hip-hop started to bloom into an undeniable force of nature that could no longer be ignored by the masses.

Fast forward almost three decades later to 2015, a year where Kendrick Lamar releases an innovative mainstream record with heart and soul, and artists like Ghostface Killah, Adrian Younge and the aforementioned Lamar decided to incorporate live instruments into their usual repertoire of samples and programmed drum beats.  Amongst this bevy of artists experimenting with new sounds is producer/rapper Jeremiah Jae, the leader of the Black Jungle Squad, a coalition of rappers and beat-makers from Chicago, IL. Jae's latest project finds him collaborating with L'Orange, a beat architect from Nashville, TN whose stock in trade is eclectic soul, jazz and psychedelic samples that sound like they were lifted straight from the dusty crates in an abandoned warehouse.

On The Night Took Us in Like Family, Jae's off-kilter flow meshes perfectly with L'Orange's dusty production, creating a hip-hop record that is listenable from beginning to end. There are no skits, no moments wasted and only two guest spots, an amazing verse from Da Gift of Gab on "All I Need", and an especially well-crafted verse from Homeboy Sandman on "Ignore the Man To Your Right. While on some of Jae's previous records I have found his lyrical flow to be a bit lackluster, it is on-point and heading straight for your dome on this record. Highlights are too many to mention, but the two aforementioned cuts are a great place to start, as well as the claustrophobic, piano-centric "Taken By the Night" and the stellar film-noir influenced "Kinda Like Life".  The entire record plays out like the aural equivalent of a 30's gangster film set to dope beats and rhymes. This is a gangster rap for people who are tired of the same old tropes that have plagued the genre since the demise of N.W.A.

Stream it below!

Do yourself a favor, and buy this record at one of the links below!

Vinyl- here
Digital Mp3- here

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Rediscoveries of Lost Gems- Larry Coryell

Larry Coryell- Coryell

When I was searching my brain for a record that deserved to be rediscovered, I came up with Larry Coryell's self-titled album from 1969 entitled simply Coryell. While Coryell's official recording debut was on Chico Hamilton's The Dealer, this is the record that would cement his reputation as one of the most sought after lead guitarists during the Jazz-fusion era in the 70's. 

From the beginning of the manic guitar solo on "Sex", you can tell that Coryell is not playing around, eventually filtering his guitar through a copious amount of wah-wah and phaser effects. "Beautiful Woman" starts out unassumingly enough, with a pleasing vocal and mellow tone, but the bottom drops out in the last minute with screaming vocals and an especially biting guitar solo. Then, the urgent rhythm of  "The Jam With Albert" comes rushing out the gates, and the rest of the band masterfully compliment Coryell's magnificent solos with an especially knotty back-beat. At over nine minutes long, this song is clearly the centerpiece of the album that places Coryell's talents on full display.  The title of the next track "Elementary Guitar Solo #5" couldn't be more ironic, as Coryell's guitar effortlessly climbs up and down the frets like a madman on a mission. At just under forty minutes, this record is long enough to engage your mind and soul, but still short enough to digest in one sitting.

I hope you enjoy listening to this record, and I would love to hear what you think of it!

Link is in comments.