It seems that sweden is fast becoming a hotbed for Quality Hip Hop. Pajozo, Speech Defect, Up Hygh, Aaron Phiri and now, Beatsmith and turntable maestro DJ Devastate has added his name to the list. Aided by a cocktail of drummers, keyboardist, guitarist and composer, Dev has put together a a collection of superbly crafted beats. A variety of rich meaty drum patterns, deck skills and samples are allied with live instrumentation that takes its cue from a variety of sources. Anyone from Funk, Disco, Jazz, The Blaxploitation era and more can all be found and have been used to great effect. There's an open airy vibe that accompanies but doesn't overpower the albums Hip Hop base. So why, if the beats on show here are indeed that nice, do I still feel a little unfulfilled having just sat right through it? I had never heard of this guy before and you have to admire the fact that he has taken the more difficult route of employing virtually no vocal talent for a debut release. But... As much quality as this album obviously possesses, when it comes to Hip Hop albums, beats minus an MC and to a lesser extent vice versa, can only go so far with needing the other. Its with this in mind that I have to wonder how much more recognition this album would have gotten if Devastate had let some MCs loose over his beats. Peep the proof!
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