Vinyl exams

Detroit hip-hop singles

JayDee, one-third of Slum Village and hip-hop’s most wanted producer, hasn’t forgotten his Detroit people. While staying busy working with big-name stars such as Erykah Badu, Common and Jay-Z, he has taken time to produce debut singles from local MCs Phat Kat and Que D.

Frank n Dank is next, simultaneously dropping two 12-inches on JayDee’s newly christened MacNasty Records, distributed by Fat Beats and funded by MCA. While the party track “Everybody Get Up” is a bit too typical, the other three songs are vintage Slum Village family. “Me and My Man” features Phat Kat and a bouncy track with chopped-up guitar licks that would make Busta Rhymes proud. “Give It Up II” has a much more ominous sound, calling to mind a swarm of circling locusts while JayDee brings the lyrical wrath in his angriest verse on record. Slum Village’s sound has plenty of critics, who focus on rhymes, but fail to hear the whole package. The essence of JayDee’s style is the meshing of disparate elements, including harsh, neck-snapping drum kicks and claps, deep booming bass lines and melodic sounds. In this formula, rappers’ voices are treated as merely part of the whole, adding to the music, but never more important than the rest. This approach is most evident on “Love,” the most mellow of the four songs, a bitter look at relationships without love. This release is just a hint at what’s forthcoming on JayDee’s compilation Welcome to Detroit, giving every rap fan something to look forward to this spring.

Find other local hip hop reviewed ... Obie Trice and Lacksidaisycal.

Luke Forrest writes about music for the Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].

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