Monday, February 28, 2011

Future Soon To Be Left Behind

Future Left Behind is the upcoming album from Shawn Lov. It's on NuffSaid Recordings, the Australian label that put out his last two albums; but make no mistake -Shawn Lov's an OG New Jersey MC. He's been quietly putting out albums since 1994, but he really started appearing on peoples' radars when he teamed up with Tony D (R.I.P.) and dropped a couple records on Cha-Ching. Hell, if nothing else, you should remember him from the interviews I did with him back in November. And so this is his new album... it's not out yet, but he hit me up with a finished copy, including artwork and everything, so it should be just around the corner.

And how is it? It's dope; I dig it. It's produced by a roster of international heads who manage to give Shawn a surprisingly consistent backdrop... boom bap but with a clean, almost lush vibe. 100% headnodders. The majority are handled by Prowla, a resident NuffSaid producer, but you've also got producers from Germany, Holland... and yes, New Jersey. Custodian of Records provides three songs with a slightly rawer edge, including the album's two stand out bangers: "The Problems" and "Rare Grooves," a high energy duet with Sadat X.

This is a Shawn Lov album, so clever punch-lines and battle raps are a given; but the overall tone here is "battle rapper grown up." Whether remembering conversations with Tony D on "Future Left Behind," or just the fading of the culture on "[1-14] Be True:"

"Now I'm watching college boys grab the mic and try to handle it;
They culture-fuck hip-hop, 'cause they don't understand this shit.
You ain't the first geek with a win-streak;
When that track ends, it's still too hard for you to make black friends.
'Cause he ain't really in like, say, a Mike D or Eminem;
So it's impossible to see the music through that lens.
And I grew up with Brand Nubian, Wise and Brother J in my ear;
Took the time to learn the way we got here.
And you grew up to P Diddy and all that shit,
And threw a frat parry, 'cause to you that's all rap is.
A far cry from the soul of an '88 cipher."

Shawn even manages to sneak in an ode to his love of vintage video games without making it sound jokey or gimmicky. Yeah, if you didn't know, Shawn Lov runs a classic arcade in Burlington, NJ called High Scores. In fact, I've got a fun bonus video, never-before-seen 'till now, I did talking to Shawn a bit about gaming. And if you're interested in Future Left Behind snippets, the intros to each of my video interviews with Shawn (one, two, three plus the one below) features music from a different album cut. :) So now, without further adieu:
video
(And I got a Youtube version here, too, if you prefer.)

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