Om: Hip Hop, Volume One [coll] – [Om Records]
The Om label, with a history of fine collections, such as those Deep/Deeper Concentration LPs, comes up big in 2007 with this batch of tracks. Many diverse styles, influenced by R&B, reggae, dub, Latin funk, disco, and a few other things, are heard here. Every one of the tracks has something strong going on, whether it’s good production and beats, impressive lyrical flow, vocal harmonies, etc. as well as real creativity and some elements that are, well, just a bit weird. And that last one is the real secret, I think; these artists give you some of the hip hop sounds you expect and they also hit you with things you don’t. Some familiar names pitch in: Erykah Badu guests on one of the tracks by Strange Fruit Project, and the track by E Da Boss features Gift Of Gab and Lateef the Truth Speaker. I can’t really get with the lyrics on the two tracks by The One, just because of his ideas and the way he expresses them, though I do kind of admire the slow dirge feel and clunky beats on his tracks. #9 is an apology to women for the inconsiderate way men treat them. Everything here is worth a listen, and, as any good collection should, this set makes me want to explore most of these artists further.
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