Here To There
BBE / Rapster
Oh, all the good music your radio will never play. We hip-hop and R&B fans are truly missing out. And, for those of you who have not been hepped to BBE’s Beat Generation (which has included Grandmaster Flash, Pete Rock, Marley Marl, and DJ Jazzy Jeff), it is not too late to privilege yourself to the great music commercial radio keeps denying us. This latest in the DJ-focused series perfectly exemplifies all the great music that has escaped radio’s narrow focus. DJ Spinna (who’s worked with everyone from Shirley Bassey and George Michael to Mos Def) has created an exquisite project that will please seven the haughtiest of haute coulture R&B/hip-hop connoisseurs.
Here To There kicks off with a gritty Funkadelic ode, “Alfonso’s Thang,” with the help of Tiklah and DJ Rock Max. From the very first minute, you know you’re in for a ride that is full of respect for the past and a quest for the new. His hip-hop (with the help of the likes of Jean Grae, Apani B, and Shadowman) has edge and thump. His soul is a lactose-covered beat that just oozes with groove. His instrumental “All Up In It” inspires co-conspirators Soulive to create the phattest groove that the group’s ever played. Vinia Mojica keeps her beauty coming in “Idols,” and Abdul Shyllon teams up with Spinna to create an airy R&B a la a funky Michael Franks (or Vikter Duplaix). And you’d be doing yourself a serious disservice if you miss the militant spoken word of The Bedouin with “Fly Or Burn” (“Let me put my Dick Cheney in your Colin Powell“).
The British Barely Breaking Even label is swiftly becoming one of the best hip-hop labels out there. With earth-shattering projects like Will.i.am’s and the Beat Generation series, it is easy to see why. They let their artists really air it out and show the creativity that is still alive in R&B and hip-hop despite what commercial radio, MTV, and the overriding “culture” would have us believe. For all those refugees of ’88 wondering what the hell happened to their music, you desperately need to check out BBE and DJ Spinna.