Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Green ReDefined

Back in February, Kaimbr and Kev Brown released their digital full-length debut, The Alexander Green Project. A few months later, ReDef Records (Damu's label, and now also the home of none other than K-Def) picked it up to give it a proper physical release. And being ReDef, they've made that physical release as awesome as possible.

First of all, they've released it in whatever format you could want. There's your basic CD, there's limited green vinyl, and even a limited green cassette! And, all three versions include an additional bonus track, "Go Green." Well... strictly speaking, "Go Green" isn't on the LP. but that's because they've gone one better, and included it on a free bonus 7" (also green) that comes with the LP; and that 7" has an exclusive B-side remix of the album track "Army Fatigue Rap," produced by Damu himself.

But let's move past the formatting, because an album could be pressed up on quintuple, extra thick colored vinyl with an autographed bonus boxed set of 12" singles in fancy picture covers, but it doesn't mean jack unless the actual music measures up to its presentation. Happily, it does.

This album is entirely produced by Kev Brown... although, I bet if I told you it was produced by Damu, most of you would buy it, because they have a similar aesthetic. You could see why ReDef picked this up as opposed to, say, Anticon Records. Like Damu, Kev comes with a serious, sample-based sound using rich soul grooves. In fact, in this case, the album is made up entirely of Al Green samples.

See, the concept is that, apparently, Kaimbr's real name is Alexander Green... and so they Kev produced this album using nothing but Al Green records. Gimmicky? Who cares; it sounds great. You'll recognize some samples from past hip-hop records, and others you won't. But even in the case of the familiar loops, they've matched them with samples you haven't heard into unique combinations and all new sound-beds. So you won't be like, "oh, that's the instrumental for so & so." It's all fresh and dope.

Lyrically, the MCs are capable. Think of that EP by K-Def and Da Capo (by the way, ReDef - another one for you to consider putting out on wax!). Nobody on the mic here is going to frighten Big Daddy Kane into finding a new day job, but they both MCs (Kev Brown also raps on this) acquit themselves respectably. Kev Brown seems to lean more towards wordplay, but his delivery is a little stiffer, whereas Kaimbr is simpler lyrically, his delivery is more smooth and natural. The important thing is that neither of them make the typical, indie mistakes of being too punchliney or anything. This is "grown man rap," as they say, you can cool out and enjoy in mixed company.

There are also a number of guest appearances. For the most part, they're not big names, but they do a good job of keeping things variant and energetic. I say "for the most part" because, surprisingly, Asher Roth of all people turns up towards the end. Thankfully, he sticks to flipping a lot of short multi-syllable rhymes as opposed to anything too corny, so he's actually fine on here.

So, to recap: the presentation is excellent. The MCing's good and the production's great. Don't let Asher Roth's name in the credits put you off. This is one of those albums you'll want to flip over and listen to again as soon as it's over. How many 2011 releases can you say that about?

1 comment:

  1. Wasn't going to check this out, but after reading your review I'll give it a spin.