The Embodiment of Instrumentation
Scratch is the wikki-wikki-specialist for Philly organic hip-hop troupe The Roots, making the sounds of turntable slicing — not with his hands, but with his mouth. He scratches with his mouth, makes funky drum breaks with his mouth, emulates samples with his mouth and makes a potpourri of wacky noises with his mouth. Therefore, it would be rather careless to not compare him to Rahzel (the other Roots beatboxer who scratches with his mouth, makes funky drum breaks with his mouth, emulates samples with his mouth and makes a potpourri of wacky noises with his mouth).
Unlike Rahzel’s unfocused mouth-noise manifesto Make the Music 2000, Scratch buries himself in beatboxing, using his mouth to create practically every sound on the record — the thump of drums, the throb of bass, the ambient noise, the syncopated horn lines and especially the scratching. This proves to be a winning formula on the deadly funky “U Know the Rules” (featuring Black Thought and Malik B of The Roots), the inventive twists and turns of “We Got What You Want” (featuring Philly’s Schoolz Of Thought) and the organic soul of “Square One” (featuring Bilal). But after 60 minutes of lipsmacks, tongue clicks, and tiresome, uninteresting interludes, it begins to grate on the nerves — especially since Scratch doesn’t have the arsenal of inventive humor, chilling robot noises, warped humor, or dead-on sample imitations that Rahzel posesses.
But God bless Scratch for resurrecting EST of late-’80s Philly-rap kingpins Three Times Dope for “That’s What We Talkin’ About.” We’ll all get a little Acknickulous tonight.
Ropeadope Records: http://www.ropeadope.com