Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Beatnuts - The Beatnuts 2xLP - Red Vinyl (/500)


Traffic / Relativity / Sony (2018, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

The Beatnuts were another one of those Golden Era groups that I knew by name back then, but never had any records by.  I likely saw their name mostly on production credits for other records and probably from time to time reading The Source.  But 1994 was a transitional year for me musically, so there are definitely some hip hop records that slipped through the cracks as I was starting to dig into punk and indie rock.

I picked up this record quite a while ago actually, maybe two years at this point but I just hadn't gotten around to writing about it.  The main strength of this album is how great the beats are front to back.  An expertly produced hip hip record, I can't complain about a single beat on here.  Jazzy without being too slow, upbeat without being too poppy or corny and expertly picked samples give the album a warm, lived in sound.  It's unique and interesting, but the vibe is instantly familiar.

Lyrically, these guys can hold their own as well.  They're not upper echelon MCs, but they are good and the beats play to the strength of the rapping.  But when someone elite like Grand Puba shows up on "Are You Ready" it's obvious they're just a notch below.  That's not really a bad thing or even a criticism.  This record just came out on the tail end of an era filled with some of the best to ever do it, to be pretty close to that elite level is a real accomplishment considering the others that were putting out records at the time.

In 2022, it still sounds innovative and fun.  I would highly recommend it if it flew under your radar back in '94.

The Beatnuts - The Beatnuts:

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