Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kwamé Meets Original Flavor

Here's a nice, typically overlooked 12". Typically overlooked because by the time this was released, the backlash against "fun" artists like Kid 'N' Play, Dana Dane, etc was in full effect, and because, unlike the first single off Kwamé's third album, this one didn't cater to his fanbase with one of his best, but most mainstream, releases. This album takes one of the best, but less "pop"-y songs from the album, "Can You Feel It?" which features some hot production that keeps changing up, showcases Tat Money's scratching, and a hook based off of The Jazzy Five's "Jazzy Sensation" and showcases it to an audience which I'm sure Kwamé rightly felt had grown hypercritical of his style in the face of the incoming gangsta fad.

But then, even more interestingly, Kwamé takes it one (or several) steps farther... he essentially reinvents himself in a style he only really does on this one 12" (by album #4, he was essentially back to his old self). Now, Kwamé always handled his own production with his band, A New Beginning - it's one of the things that really makes his album stand as fresh, But for the "Pass the 40 Oz. Remix," he hooks up with Original Flavor. The beat is pretty stripped down, with a simple break beat and sparse horn sample... if you can imagine what Kwamé would sound like if he were a member of DITC, you get the idea. The hook is replaced with a more "roughneck" shout and response kind of thing (again, think DITC or Original Flavor's second album). DJ Tat Money gives another, different display of his scratching skills. And Kwamé's crazy flow, where he's apt to change pitch, cadence, speed, etc could already fit pretty well into the Original Flavor repertoire. ...There's also a "Pass the O.J. Mix" which is essentially the same as the "40 Oz." one.

Then, you've got his only 12" exclusive cut (originally, "It's OK" was an exclusive B-side on his "Sweet Thing" single, but then he wound up putting it on his second album), "Wake It Up." This one is again produced by Kwamé (or, as the label puts it, "produced, arranged, looked at and lived by Kwamé and A New Beginning 4 Brothers Grimmmm Productions, Inc."), but done entirely in the Original Flavor style- like in the time of Beyond Flavor, not This Is How It Is. The beat is hot - and yeah.

From the chopped horn samples, the sped up piano loop, the shouted chorus, all down to the shout outs at the end, it's a Kwamé you've never heard before. But it's just true enough to his original style(s) that it's not a totally off-putting 180 on his fans (i.e. The UMC's Unleashed). This is a dope little 12" you'll definitely want to look into picking up if you're a Kwamé fan... and maybe even if you're not.

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