Monday, 2 February 2009

Cap Jack Treasures - J-Rawls - The Liquid Crystal Project

J-Rawls - The Liquid Crystal Project.

There's nothing sweeter than Jazz...Well hip hop is almost as sweet. But I mean...You could fuse the two and stuff to produce an album that is literally perfect.

You might know of J-Rawls for producing like 1-2 cuts off of "BlackStar" - Mos and Kweli's eponymous debut. And like a lot of artists in the game,(Mos Def, Captain Kirk, Guru) He has his own band.

So yeah...It's basically his band doing hip hop instrumental covers with a live band....100% organic. Think "Organix" or "Do You Want More?!?! with no MC and less band-Jam type arrangements.

The beauty of this album is that it's not neccesarily really obvious covers that make you go -_-. But within that, He covers some stuff that makes you go "oh yeah...I remember that"

The stand outs on the album for me were:

"A Tribute To T.R.O.Y." - Which as its name suggests is a cover of Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth's "They Reminisce Over You" which originally sampled Tom Scott's "Today".

The song starts off with some chopped sampling from the Tom Scott original with a little hi-hat going off in the background.

Then as the drums opens up with a kinda marching band snare roll, One of the illest Alto Sax(Could be tenor...Don't quote me) breaks jumps off into the verse which is just swept along by some real mellow key work...Kinda like the "Electric Piano" you got from your Yamaha back in the day.

Best thing about this track is that it's not too busy. There's no douchebaggery by the keyboard player or the Sax player going solo wildly. The drums are always in the pocket..They keys get busy from 1:40-ish to 2:40 which lets you remember a melody other than the signature Sax break (Which re-appears. Don't worry)

Keep On Runnin - Think one of the illest dilla beats...Runnin by The Pharcyde right? Yeah...This is melodic on a different level. Some silky key work...Once again, No forced groove. Just the band in the pocket along with some weird airy sound in the background..(i dunno if its a second synth set to strings or a modified electric violin? Either way it's dope).

There's also sweet Neo-Soul moments, A Tribute to Dilla and some of the better synth work and Sax use you'll hear on a hip hop style record.

The album gets my full seal of approval....The 5 Cap rating. It's the most i've been touched by an instrumental album since "Donuts".

Get it here ( - But if you CAN, Cop it. If not, Enjoy it anyway (:

"I don't **** with politics. I ain't no black activist on a so-called scholar's ****."

Hmmm...First off, It's snowing today. I'ts also colder than a nun's muff...Okay maybe not that cold. But pretty cold.

Second of all, I was listening to "Swordsman" one of the dopest cuts from "Liquid Swords" by the Genius himself. (Inspiration for the blog title) Then i got to thinking, In the midst of Obama being sworn in, Rappers jumping on the political bandwagon to the point where it's gonna crash into the side of someones house..are these politics even relevant.

You're probably thinking..."WTF...Cap, Your favourite band is called "Rage Against The Machine" and i'm sure i saw you wearing a China national team football shirt.."

I like to think i can differentiate between being aware of and holding a lot of respect for certain aspects of politics and idealising the relevance of politics in my day to day life.

See...My theory is (and it's not particularly complex) that politics as an idea as music holds a certain connotation that the elitist and the pseudo-elitist are obsessed with.

For example If i said "Sharp Shooters" by Dead Prez Ft. Talib Kweli was political, You'd say i'm talking clean out of my arse. But technically, it's a political record. Sure the hook might go "I'm one with my gun, I love it like my first son. It protects me and makes sure the Jakes respect me" and Kweli might talk about "Protecting yourself with the illest arsenal possible"

But i see it as a good spin on the 2nd Ammendment...(The thing that says you reserve the right to own a **** load of guns provided you're not a threat to society...Gee, here's me thinking anyone with a gun is a potential threat to society. But i digress...)

Anytime i've recommended that track to anyone, They've told me..."I mean a political record. Like Immortal Technique kinda stuff" Which has brought me to a sweet conclusion. People don't like politics in music, They like the idea of politics in music. Never has it been truer than people asking questions like "Where can i learn more about communism?" ...Can i add that in quite a few cases, These are the same people who have idolised rap about money...

To put into perspective...I've heard someone spit the lyric "Don't wear skinny jeans cos my knots don't fit" REPEATEDLY then tell me "I'm down with Immortal Technique's politics. He's about the people, I hear that"

Thanks for reading (:...I'm gonna go watch "A League Of Extroardinary Gentlemen"..Again.

Cap out.