With Beati Paoli on the road, you’d think they have nothing better to do than drink beerz and add tags/images to my posts but they do neither.
PERCEE P – PERSEVERANCE (Stones Throw 2007)
Percee P is (apparently) a legend among real hip-hoppers (a group that probably doesn’t include me) but this is his first solo album EVERRRR. He debuted over 15 years ago but all of his appearances were as a guest on various other MC’s tracks. This is how he became familiar to REAL hip-hoppers and finally, 50 years later, he gets his shot at an album, with beats provided by none other than Stones Throw’s resident superstar, Madlib. Percee doesn’t let the opportunity go to waste, offering clever rhymes with a forceful style, making him more interesting than previous Stones Throw MCs like MED or Wildchild. Madlib isn’t at his very best on the album but the beats will please his fans, including myself. The main problem with PERSEVERANCE is the clash of styles. As usual, Madlib’s beats are spaced out, trippy, dusty, and wacky, while Percee P’s delivery is brash and straightforward. I’m not saying it doesn’t work but basically you get an album of very good rhymes and solid beats that lose a little in the combination. Still, it’s a must-have for any Madlib/Stones Throw fan. Grade: B
MADLIB, BEAT KONDUCTA VOL. 3-4 IN INDIA (Stones Throw 2007)
Did you ever hear that BOMBAY THE HARD WAY album from the 90z? It was a collection of funky film score music from 1970s Bollywood films with some very minor tweaking and “remixing” by Dan the Automator? Think of this as the 2007 update. Madlib makes a full CD of beats sampling Indian records. The results are decent but strictly for background music. There are a lot of beats but they aren’t consistently interesting and lack variety. The album might serve as a good sleep aid but using it in this way may result in hazy, smoke-filled dreams taking place in Indian palace dungeons. For Madlib fanatix only. Grade: C
DENNIS WILSON – PACIFIC OCEAN BLUE LEGACY EDITION (Sony Legacy 2008)
PACIFIC OCEAN BLUE has been out of print for several years, which is why I illegally downloaded it a few years ago. At first I was really turned off by Wilson’s vocals, which are anything BUT the silky smooth and angelic tones of a Beach Boy. In fact, at times he sounds like a SOUTH PARK parody of a cheesy hard rock singer. On a subsequent listen, I paid more attention to the overall sound and realized how beautiful the arrangements were. Soon, I was over the cheesy vocals and absorbing the big picture, which happens to be the true heir to the Beach Boys 1960s/early 70s work. The lyrics are simple and quaint, the melodies are beautiful, and the arrangements are lush and thick with emotion. PACIFIC OCEAN BLUE was released 30 years ago but the new edition includes the long-lost BAMBU album that Wilson abandoned. This album was begun by Dennis shortly after P.O.B. but he basically lost interest and it sat unfinished . . . and then he died. Finally, his collaborators from the era have put a few finishing touches on it and here it is! And it’s almost as good as P.O.B.! The only area in which it falls short is the cohesiveness. Some tracks probably would have been trimmed for the ‘real’ release that never happened. The material is a little more uptempo but really more of the same in a very good way. EXTRA CREDIT: Dennis recorded POB while the other Beach Boys (minus Carl) were at the Maharishi Institute in Fairfield, Iowa recording M.I.U. ALBUM. You should compare POB to MIU and cry/laugh. Grade: A+