Shape of Good Hip Hop

4 02 2008

One album I’ve been listening to a whole lot lately is “Craft of the Lost Art” by new hip hop group Shape of Broad Minds. My friend Chris turned me onto this record calling it”The Best Album of 2007,” so my expectations were very high, but I have also learned over the years to trust his judgment, so I picked it up. I have been out of the game in terms of keeping up with underground hip-hop lately, so the first thing that was apparent for me was the influence of Madlib on this record. Madlib is an amazing producer, and after the shock of hearing something that sounded so “Madlib-ish” wore off, I was able to really dig it. Another obstacle was the opening, which features a sample from some version of the theme song from the old Peter Gunn TV show from the 50’s. This was difficult for me to take, being that that theme was the FIRST thing I ever learned on guitar, and given that I recently have been checking out drummer Shelly Manne’s version of the same music. An extreme coincidence that I quickly got over, given the nature of the whole thing. After the opening, the album really gets going, and doesn’t stop for a LONG time. The record clocks in at over an hour, and in that time there are an amazing number of ideas that are thrown at the listener. These ideas all make the songs better, and merit repeat listening to find all the witty and amazing sound design stuff going on under the surface. Another thing that I really like is that there are good song choruses, and beyond that the way the rhyming interacts with these choruses is always unique.

The group was started by Philly based Producer Jneiro Jarel, and like Madlib, is made up of his many persona’s, plus some guests along the way like MF Doom and the always great Count Bass D. I can’t stop listening to this thing, and it’s really been giving many a ton of ideas lately, so check it out (or not).

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