It’s always fun to hear a track where the artist decides that regular shit is too mundane. Every once in a while, it’s nice to hear an artist say fuck it and just let their creative juices flow. The Alchemist has brought along some of the indie market’s hottest rappers for a short EP called Yacht Rock. The work consists of two extended play songs that draw their sonic inspiration from karate movie background music, BBC and Robb Report rich motherfucker musings and 60’s psychedelic Rock. Sound like a mess? It is so far from it.
“Side A” is a mellow cool starring Action Bronson, Roc Marciano and West Coaster, Oh No. Each artist is given their own aural backdrop to expound on the virtues of the lush life. The trappings of luxury bring Bronson into trust fund baby mode fishing for marlin, smoking the best of weed banging your bade. His dad’s a banker he’s got coke in the fridge and sex slaves in the kitchen in full expository mode.
The baton is passed to Marciano over a decidedly more gully 70’s soul back drop. Roc lowers his vocal tone to a raspy Rakim tenor and rocks rough rhymes through the bassline and bubbly beat. High hats sizzle against the waves of the ocean crashing against the boat and cavernous drums beat as Oh No brings up the rear. Lyrically he ventures further from the coast of convention than his comrades but they all blend nicely for the sultry “Side A.”
“Side B” brings together an even motlier crew with Big Twin from Mobb Deep fame alongside Chuck Inglish and Blu. The track opens with those “ahhs” from the closing moments of a Bruce Lee film (you’ll know them when you hear them). A myriad of news excerpts and commercial samples play until bongos, light keys and an aerated guitar make entre for Twin, whose gruff, ugly voice is like the hard graham cracker crust at the bottom of an ice cold key lime pie.
Inglish takes off immediately with a lighter, smooth composition of guitars, digital keys and strings. Smooth crooning and more of that stadium guitar infuse a blast of Franky Beverly & maze energy, slowly building the beat. Blue takes the helm amid a cacophony of horns, angelic singing and a warm bassline that will rock you to sleep if you’re not careful. The vocal samples bring the track to a close with short flute bursts, and a calming wave effect buttressed by Muzac.
I tip my hat to The Alchemist. This is some really fly shit and an example of why producers should always expand their musical base and listen to much more than rap music when drawing on inspiration. While the feel of this record is familiar, it isn’t because you’ve heard the samples before, but because their collective selection was so impeccable that you know exactly the parts of your life they connect to if you around for the era from which these pieces derive. Yacht Rock is excellent and all too brief. I’d buy an entire project like this.
***Two tracks is not enough to warrant a rating but if an entire project like this dropped it would certainly challenge the musicality of some of the better albums this year.***
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