In The Nic Of Time:

The Producer/MC duo is practically a steadfast tradition in hip hop. Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, Eric B & Rakim, Pete Rock & CL Smooth. These names are all legendary and it will be hard for any new jacks to better what these guys achieved. But the perception & meaning of such duo's has changed. The evolution of the internet means that Board Buccaneers & Microphone Mechanics can collaborate from different sides of the world and often to superb effect (Blu & Exile anybody?). Thus Nicolay & Kay join these ranks with Time:Line. Kay, of Hip Hop MC duo The Foundation, has long been blessing us with his brand of thoughtful lyrics fused with soulful boom bap. Nicolay, producer extraordinaire has a slew of critically acclaimed albums (Foreign Exchange - Connected) & production credits to his name. Both are superb in their professions so why was i a little apprehensive about this project. I refused to listen to the sample & waited instead for a chance to listen to the full album. Now Nicolay is my favourite producer of the last few years but I was fairly underwhelmed when i first heard 'Here', so perhaps I was preparing myself for a bit of a let down. But Nicolay has returned to his spacey, soulful, crispy boom bapping best. From the moment the album opens with a funky uptempo groove of an intro that Dangermouse & Cee-Lo would be real jealous of, my complete faith in the man was restored. Yet by the next track, Blizzard, i was practically salivating. With it's hard hitting snares & kicks, being ridden by a a nice guitar loop, showcasing Kay waxing lyrical about overcoming adversity to get to where you want to be. Inspirational lyrics over a banger of a track. With each following track i was just as enthused. When Connected came out i called it the embodiment of beautiful hip hop. When Nicolay made This album he must have been in the same zone. The Light, featuring The Strange Fruit Project & Nicole Hurst, sonically continues right wher connected left off with the spacey electro keyboards & background vocals, while Kay, Myth & S1 lament on the what's where's & why's of Hip Hop shows. Brilliant. And then Stockley Williams lets rip over the piercing snare & floating rhodes of 'Through The Wind'. Then the understated snare, jazzy hat & lovely keyboard of 'I've Seen Rivers' kicked in... and i was gone. What A Tune! I know that we've only just hit february but i think that this song will definately reach the business end of my top 30 tracks at the end of this year. Other highlights for me (on an album of nothing but highlights) are 'As The Wheel Turns'. A quite lovely mellow boom bap and smooth keyboard driven combo. 'Grand Theft Auto'. The other straight neck snapper on the cd. Plus 'When You Die' with it's gospel organ and muffled horns that fit Kay's sing songy, almost Andre 3000 like hook perfectly. I could go on in the same vain about every track talking about how Kay does his thing big time & how the backdrop Nicolay provides borders on genius and how the fact that the album is almost entirely sample free only makes it even better. But i will end with this. Connected fans buy this album. Hip Hop fans buy this album. Everybody buy this album. Beautiful Hip Hop Lives On.

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