Thursday, September 21, 2006

Shaman Work

Shouting out J Dilla is insultingly cliche, but this is the definitive retrospective mix.

Shaman Work is good shit. They're one of few labels putting out consistently solid non-mainstream rap music (make that rap music, period) right now. Pictured above is Shaman Work resident DJ 2-Tone Jones's R.I.P. Jay Dee mix, which is pretty close to flawless. It's the only thing I've heard (I have yet to pick up The Shining) since Jay's untimely passing that's a real testament to his legacy. I was sick of hearing Ebro (that guy from MTV2's Sucker Free who works at Hot97) and the squad of idiots they have hosting Rap City right now shout out Dilla without having anything to actually say about him, and this mix was a real breath of fresh air. It also knocks, which doesn't hurt.

SW is on some tight shit for a lot of other reasons, too, not least of which is the fact that they signed Edgar Allen Floe, who probably has the greatest name in rap. He's actually pretty good, and it would be sweet if he dropped a concept-mixtape series, Poe v. Floe or something. Ess Dub also has this dude named Wale Oyejide, who I think is from Nigeria and makes tight afro beats and sings well.

CL Smooth just released an album on SW, as well, which is the first rapper-from-the-past comeback record that I've heard work. American Me came out of nowhere for me -- it's funny that CL Smooth, who I never really knew as anything more than Pete Rock's sidekick, is still standing, while Rakim (in fairness, he is touring), Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, etc., aren't producing shit. It's improbable, I guess, but CL sounds way better than anyone else I'm hearing out of NY right now, and good for him -- Papoose and Murda Mook and Jae Millz and whoever else (I stopped paying attention, I'm sorry) need to study this.

Finally, I'm feeling Scienz of Life. Lil Scienz sounds like Breezely Brewin if Breeze sounded like Slick Rick, and I'm digging it. I got my hands on The Blaxploitation Sessions, and it's getting rotation. I guess I'd say I haven't felt this good about a label since Rawkus released Soundbombing II; as long as the people in charge as SW can keep their shit together a bit better than those characters, I see big things in their future. There was a time when independent hip-hop labels were bastions of quality, and I used to build my record collections around them. It's been a while since I've trusted any of them (Hiero, Def Jux, EC, Rhymesayers, etc., etc.), and I'm so jaded by all of it that Shaman Work still has some convincing to do, but they're on the right track. And that makes me happy.

1 comment:

Furman P. Slothra said...

still got your hookup from the radio show?

how am i gonna cop that shit?