Apparently Calvin Johnson and K Records do have “Beat Happening,” so to speak. One of the very few hip-hop groups on K Records, two-man production crew the Shinin’ represent today’s increasingly familiar Jurassic 5-esque old-skool revisionism with skeletal beats, melodic basslines, lite piano-jazz, and scratch solos as ubiquitous as guitar solos in the rock world. On top of Take One and None’s expressively lethargic production, a series of California and Northwest MCs brandish extremely laid-back flows and throwbacks to Treacherous Three posse cuts while obsessing over skills, preaching positivity, and doing a fair share of namechecking. Imagine Furious Five, post-Snoop-Dogg bluntedness. This formula equates to a refreshing little hip-hop nugget of optimism that should prove curiosity-inducing for indie hip-hop fans and satisfying to the smug indie kids who ravage the rest of the K Records catalog.
K Records, P.O.Box 7154, Olympia, WA 98507; http://www.kpunk.com