Music Reviews

Rob Swift

Under the Influence

Six Degrees

After Spooky’s launching of the Under the Influence series for Six Degrees, the label inexplicably suspended it for almost three years. Much like Kinetic’s Another Late Night joint, UTI features DJs and producers and their musical influences in what can oftentimes be intriguing mixes.

Thankfully for this recrudescent effort, Six Degrees enlisted the help of Rob Swift, a turntablist par excellence who, like Babu, is a man who speaks with his hands. Swift is more than just your average cut creator; his talent has been recognized by such jazz luminaries as Bob James and Herbie Hancock (in fact, check out Swift’s eponymous cut on Herbie’s Future 2 Future if you want to hear something really special), as well as being part of the X-ecutioners crew.

Of course, as a hardcore hip-hop head, it’s no surprise that Swift’s main influences are soul, hip-hop and funk (just imagine if it had been Sam Bush), and that’s exactly what you get on this disc – with swatches of Swift scratches in between. His soul choices are impeccable (Eddie Bo’s “The Hook and Sling,” The Explosions’ “Hip Drop” and Sam and the Soul Machine’s “Mercy D,” just to name a few) and his old school really brings back the memories (Davey DMX’s •no, I can’t remember which one •”One for the Treble,” Marley Marl’s “The Man Marley Marl” and DJ Quick’s “Scratch Attack 2”). For some reason he also includes two cuts off Bobi Cespedes’ new Six Degree release (coincidence?) Rezos, but it works.

This is a great way to reinvigorate a long-thought-dead series. If Six Degrees can constantly bring on more talent like Spooky and Swift, I say, “Long live Under the Influence!”

Six Degrees:

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