Hear The Track HereI can't say that it happens that often but every once in a while the Soundclick hip hop community surprises me with something. The latest was my introduction to Excel and his bandmates in F.A.M (Freshset) whose Dreamer (December 2009) absolutely blew me away, even though it bordered on the more commercial side of the genre. A good song and performance are what its about though, and Dreamer had lots of both. Then I reviewed Excel on his own with Watch Me Freestyle (January 2010) where again he showed that he knows his rap business. Moreover, Watch Me Freestyle had a really nice (for me anyway) dark undercurrent that added spice to the track, aided by a distinctly grimy (as in the musical style not the dirty s***) atmosphere that fit it like a PVC catsuit, with a zipper for a mouth. Now please don't ask where I dredged THAT little detail up otherwise I'll be here all week explaining it...and you still won't be much wiser for it.
Gilmoreland, not yer average Kansas.
Summer Nights again has a fairly lo-fi, grimy sound to it, leavened by some nice little piano licks, an active bass, solid beats and not a lot else. Mind you, that's pretty much the name of the game for this genre, beat is king and - in this instance - it's solid and consistent. What really makes the track work for me is the mildly glitchy feel the whole track carries, that is something I could listen to time and time again. The intro, in particular, is likely to have a few people scratching their heads and muttering wtf under their breath. As a song, I don't think this is as immediate as Watch Me Freestyle and that's probably because this prowls the commercial territory explored by FAM (Freshset) who - to my mind - did it so much better.
Having said that, this is just Excel and he does as great a job as anything I've heard from him. Wouldn't like to swear that the flow was totally right, or that the ideas within the lyrics were particularly memorable but the jazzy feel to the music, and the urgent, slightly rushed rap make it all work out well enough to to shame anybody. I fear that my own feelings about this are somewhat clouded by not liking this particular style but I know for a fact that music of this type is immensely popular. As such, I think Excel is only going to aid his reputation with this but, in my mind, he's probably going to have to up his game somewhat to really start registering on a scene as big and competitive as Soundclick's hip hop fraternity.
Recommended, solid hip hop.