Beat music guru makes his most personal record to date
His tracks are littered with them. In ten years Ras G has releases at least fifteen album and as many EP’s. They range from hip-hop, Sci-Fi electronica, beat music and mind melting Aftocentricly themed albums. You’d think with this prodigiously prolific output the quality might vary. Fortunately not. The quality has always been of the highest quality. One thing you can say about Ras G, he never phones it in his production.
His latest album Down 2 Earth Volume 2 (The Standard Bap Edition), a follow up to the 2011 classic, sees Ras make is most personal album to date. Never one to shy away from his influences 2013’s Back on the Planet was an homage to Sun Ra and everything Afrocentric. As the title gives away, this time his paying tribute to his early influences, 1980’s Hip-Hop and more importantly the Boom Bap movement. You can’t listen to this album without hearing Pete Rock, Lord Finesse and Bomb Squad permeating each track. As Ras G said recently “How kids are about Dilla, that’s how I was for Pete Rock. That’s my foundation” And it shows.
Ras G has successfully taken the codes and conventions of the style and manipulated it, so that it sounds contemporary, rather than a personal nostalgia trip. He’s filled the gaps, left by the laconic beats, with his “Oooooooooooooooooohhhh Raaaaassssssssssss” trademark calling card, air horns and general psychedelic surface noise. Standout track Vero Cai… takes a simple vocal loop, a purring bass and a gentle thumping beat and makes something memorable. Through slowly building, and removing, elements Ras G creates a constant vibe of the summer, BBQ’s, house parties, while keeping the ethos of the project intact.
Yet again Ras G has released a flawless album. The production is as tight as ever, but it never feels constrictive and over complicated. While this is a Boom Bap album, at times it feels like a jazz album. The space that is created by the rigid elements of the mix is filled with lyrical synth loops, luscious vocal samples and vivid textures of gritty surface noise. All you can really say is “Oooooooooooooooooohhhh Raaaaassssssssssss!”