Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to the most soulful and best hip hop album of 2014.
And by hip hop, I don’t (necessarily) mean rap. Hip Hop is a culture, a system of building sounds and moods from existing pieces and then overlaying original words or backbeats. It’s a recognition of the way our society is blended. It started in the late ’80s and 1990s as a form of protest against the homogeneous and overwhelmingly Anglo sounds in pop music–a protest similar to the insertion of world beat by The Talking Heads–but as a culture, we’ve progressed. We’ve moved on.
Into something even more dense. Something so rich with sounds that you can hear extremely familiar elements, like Marvin Gaye lamenting “Mercy Mercy Me,” and less recognizable words by Mos Def that feel familiar but are probably new to you. Mos Def is not the most original rapper–he’s got great flow, but he doesn’t change the game all that much.
Enter producer Yasiin Bey’s blended album “Yasiin Gaye,” which builds on some of Marvin Gaye’s greatest hits (and many overlooked ones as well) by introducing them to new beats, overlaying Mos Def, Talib Quali, Chuck Berry, Kanye West, and many others. It’s stunning.
Some of it (like Ms. Fat Booty) you’ve heard before (but you’ll probably be happy to hear again). But a lot of the loops and songs are new.
Yeah, it’s a copyright lawyer’s nightmare. But it’s so amazing, I can’t believe Marvin wouldn’t have supported this.
Get it while you can.