Ras G released third in the Raw Fruit series and third ACTUAL mixtape this year
Gregory Shorter, Jr. has had a busy 2014. After the success of last year’s Back on the Planet he wasn’t content to sit on his laurels. Oh no. Shorter (or Ras G, as he is better known) followed this up with the second instalment in the Raw Fruit series. Raw Fruit Volume 1 was a selection of 15 tracks that clocked in just under than 30 minutes. These weren’t throwaway demos; these were just really short tracks. The second edition was more of the same, but the seemed more focused. The tracks had more of a point and the beats and samples were more precise. Then came the slip mixtape with VHVL (original review here).
This brings us up to date. Ras G has now released Raw Fruit Volume 3. It contains the same level of production wizardry as 1 & 2, but this time, musically speaking, Ras G seems more reflective. The samples are more laid-back (almost DJ Shadow-esque in places). The opening track Hear U, is a simple beat, bass, vocal, layered samples track. Less is definitely more with this on. It’s laced with melancholy and reverence. The lone vocal sample says “I can hear you”. Is Ras G implying that he knows what we’re going to be thinking, or will he use this in his live sets when he wants the crowd to know that he isn’t ignoring them? Maybe it was just a badass sample that he loved with the beat. Either way it’s a great way to kick off the mixtape. 2 Kushy sounds like he’s sampled someone running their finger around a glass half full of water and then manipulated every way he could, layered it to give it that Space Bass sound he’s known for. T.V. Party has a violin sample that wouldn’t be out of place on any RZA produced track. It’s a murky piece that plays straight into Ras G’s newly found reflective Space Bass sound.
Stand out track is Rawk’n. This is one of the longer tracks on the album. The main sample is a fuzzed out guitar riff (think Hendrix and Blue Cheer and you’re on the right track). This song conjures up LA’s musical history (the Fillmore, acid-test parties, Metallica, etc, etc), but due his looping, additional samples and beat he shows you LA’s musical future too. It’s a clever thing to do in 2:36.
The most interesting thing about the album is that he’s got some guest vocalists on some of the tracks. Giovanni Marks, the Koreatown Oddity and KhaiLL Sadiq join him on four tracks. These non-sampled vocals show that Ras G isn’t afraid to collaborate (something that he hasn’t really done in the past). Are these four track insights into the new direction that he’s going to be taking? Or are they tracks he had and couldn’t find the right way to finish it on his own? Either way they are exciting and enticing us think about what might be coming next.
While this year’s releases aren’t direct follow ups to Back on the Planet, they are filling the void very nicely. They are allowing the music consuming fans to have something new to chew on while he starts/continues/finishes his next long player. Despite their length these are not disposable tracks. Far from it. This is some of the most listenable and inventive music I’ve heard since, well, the Seat of the Soul mixtape in July. If you are a fan of forward thinking electronic music, this is a tape you need to have. But you better get in their early as they are limited and will probably have run out by the time you’ve finished reading this.