The moment you turn something on and you have no clue as to the who, what, where and when Psych Major first arrived. Information is limited surrounding the producer/emcee but with his The Late Starter EP (Below System Records) he’s immersed within Boom Bap culture of old and it’s a fantastic journey through melody with a style that’s almost become couture. The release features an assortment of artists but what’s probably most impressive is “PVT Hudson” which features Young Z, Squeegie Oblong, and Snook Da Crook. The track opens with a movie track sample, which sounds a lot like Bill Paxton but I could be wrong. The beat that follows is addictively memorable as the low-end slips over an eerie yet seductive keyboard play. All the emcees find solace all around the track, making it distinctive and dope AF. But it’s “Four Bridges,” featuring Squeegie Oblong, that moves in a way completely different. The 3-note bassline is juxtaposed against keyboard notes that shouldn’t fit well together but do. This is weirdly enticing. I have to refer back to the opening “Dolph Lund” featuring Reef The Lost Cauze and Shabaam Sahdeeq, a grimy joint that evokes semblances of dirty city streets, firmly rooted in reality. If “that real shit” was found in a dictionary, you might find this joint there. The Late Starter EP is a great introduction to someone whose love of Hip Hop is clear from its thick beats to clever lyricism throughout the tracks.
Who in the world is ¡Jay Hill!? Well, the answer may not be so easy to figure out. The newly released SIENNA (Fake Four Inc.) is a cornucopia of sound that seems to pull from a variety of sources. ¡Jay Hill! Rhymes over electro-centric beats that are sometimes pulled from the most outrageous of sources. “Sinagro Culture” for example, mixes cartoon-like samples with a musically vast concoction. When I say it’s outrageous, it seems to go beyond extremes, but it’s not off-putting, in fact it’s just the opposite. It’s an interesting amalgamation of Hip-Hop mixed with oddness fully in lo-fi technicolor. But it’s “Raw Sienna” I keep going back to. Its freneticism is captivating on so many different levels and as I previously mentioned ¡Jay Hill!’s “lo-fi” attack on this release, it doesn’t even matter here. Everything is over-the-top eccentricity and you barely notice that his powerful phrasing comes in past the 3-minute mark. In fact, this track is over 10 minutes long! Who the fuck does that? Well, ¡Jay Hill! does that, that’s who. Seriously though, SIENNA is pure insanity that tears doors right off hinges and blows ceilings down with speakers blaring and cutting through. What else could we ask for?
G’s US – WHAT THEM DOGS DON’T KNOW THEY KNOW
There’s always room for growth, and while some are stumped and continue rehashing the same familiar styles that don’t allow for change, there are those who continually push the proverbial envelope. Those are the ones that have never steered in a direction others traversed either. Who am I referring to? Well, that’s G’s US of course. It’s not just a clever name, it’s much more than that.
When you’re anointed, what should be your next step? Why, carve out a new path and name yourselves with a moniker that makes the upmost sense. G’s US is the latest project by both R.A.P. Ferreira and AJ Suede, two wordsmiths whose clever lyricism may just be the equivalent of placing square pegs in round holes, but they always make ‘em fit. Just released is What Them Dogs Don’t Know They Know (Alpha Pup), which comes across much like a project that was years in the making. Both artists have released albums of their own that have been captivating with interesting phrasing & wordplay alongside catchy rhythms and melodies. Throughout this new album, things just get so much better.
The opening “Universe” moves like cowhand with a slow drawl, its jazzy yet otherworldly feel with theremin-like tones, corrupts senses. You can try to ignore it but you won’t. You can’t. It’s wild and hypnotic. While Ferreira’s lyrics may seem braggadocios, it isn’t. It just is. The meaning just might escape most, and when the mic is passed to Suede, you can understand there’s hard work that came with this. The constant “You lacking the vision if you ain’t been stacking the chicken,” can take on more than one meaning, but we all have to stack that chicken. If you know, then you just know. The track is followed by the rhythmic banger “Freaks (feat. Blu)” and when Suede utters, “I probably forgot better shit than you know right now/Like Bruce Leroy with the glow right now,” it doesn’t matter that he rhymes a word with the same word because it’s the feel and cadence of his delivery that makes the words smack. There’s an abundance of content the tosses around from Jim Kelly to Spike Lee to DOOM and we understand the double entendres that are offered here. And Ferreira? He does the same. Blu doesn’t take the invite lightly, closing things with the same intent. This is insanity but not Einstein’s interpretation of insanity.
And then there’s “Parade,” where vocals are juxtaposed against what could almost be a free jazz sequence if it wasn’t repeated. It all works though and both Suede and Ferreira’s vocals are thoughtful and expressive, offering clear and descriptive imagery. The slow deliver of “Rage Quiet” – obvious oxy there – musically moves at a snail’s pace but both emcees work through it just like anything else they’re able to, Ferreira fitting in a wide assortment of phrasing and wording.
While it may have been surprising to find both R.A.P. Ferreira and AJ Suede together as G’s US, it’s something that has made the most sense. What Them Dogs Don’t Know They Know is well thought out and the tracks are balanced almost perfectly. I understand that we all want to be G’d up like Jesus, and again the double entendre of the duo’s name makes the most sense. The rhymes are dipped in some next-level shit as the music that backs it allows Ferreira and Suede to simply work their magic.