Sometimes you just have to believe the hype. It feels like it’s been ages since a truly fresh perspective has come out of the underground hip-hop scene. And by fresh, capsule I don’t necessarily mean cutting-edge. The old adage has never been so true — to truly move ahead you often have to take one step back — and that philosophy has been executed to perfection by Raj Haldar, doctor the talented Philadelphia-based multi-instrumentalist/producer/MC responsible for one of this year’s best hip-hop offerings and absolutely your summer BBQ roaster, for sale Cassette City.
Haldar made waves a little while back with West Sounds, a unique melding of Kanye West and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, and while that may have seemed like transient novelty, it wasn’t. It was simply prelude to a sound firmly entrenched in this young producers bag of tricks. When I say this is a raw, edgy hip-hop record that will satisfy those longing for a return to 90s East Coast mastery AND heavily references Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, David Axelrod and Burt Bacharach, I am not fucking around. Today’s post, “Bottle Rocket” together with a handful of satisfying tracks featuring a truly ecletic list of guest players like Camp Lo, Ariel Pink, Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend and Greg Saunier, drummer of Deerhoof (I wasn’t kidding, that’s pretty sick for a hip-hop record, no?) show the type of quality that results from MCing, producing and laying down the instrumentation for samples all on his lonesome. Classicaly trained, historically reverent and skillfully adept. The combo for next-level shiiiiiiiiiiit.
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RIYL: Black Milk, Marco Polo, 9th Wonder & Buckshot, Lupe Fiasco, Ezhri, Koushik