Tuesday, December 20, 2011

8 Days of Hanukkah Hip-Hop: Asher Roth - "Pabst & Jazz" (Blended Babies Sessions)



I must admit, that in addition to becoming quite the talented rhymesmith... Asher Roth has also managed to become "The Master of Ambiguity," as of late. His latest effort, Pabst & Jazz (Sessions) was released earlier today to positive fan-fare, without a single premature leak; Aside from a couple planned "leaks" [promo singles], even the mixtape's tracklist was kept under lock and key up until today's wide-spread release. Pabst & Jazz marks a new direction for Roth... uncharted territory, which is laid back, Soulful, and Jazzy! In fact, 14 of it's 16 tracks were produced by mysterious production duo, "Blended Babies." Chuck Inglish (The Cool Kids), 1500 or Nothin', and Asher Roth himself also contribute slight production chops.


Pabst & Jazz is a truly great mixtape; What a diverse batch of top-notch "Soul" baring recordings! After a few complete listens, I really can't pinpoint a skip-able track in the set... and honestly, it almost feels wrong to call Pabst & Jazz a mixtape. "Street Album" almost seems like a more fitting word to describe it, as you can easily see how much hard work and effort went into crafting this piece of art. While there are essentially 16 "Acts"-worth of Asher Roth-led memorable moments, here are a few of my early favourites: "Choices" [with fellow hustler, Action Bronson], "Common Knowledge," "Bastermating," and "Ampersand." Featured throughout this small sampling of tracks are The O'My's, A$AP Twelvy, Chip Tha Ripper, and YP. All of which strongly highlight Blended Babies' trademark blend of "Golden Age Hip-Hop," Funk-Soul, and Jazz.


Additional primary elements that contribute to the overall "Deep Soul" vibe include: Kenny Keys' ivory work on "Pabst & Jazz", Chicago's very own 18-20 year-old musical youth: Kids These Days, Soulful samples including Al Green ("Ampersand"), Nathan Santos' HEAVY vocal riffs on the mixtape's 2 closing tracks, and a horn sample which sounds eerily similar to New Order's 1983-88 hit single, "Blue Monday." 1500 or Nothin's lone contribution on the final track, "Dope Shit" is also of particular note. The 7-minute romp lacks a proper "-feat." credit, so I'm lead to believe that the Soulful sample-hook combo was in fact culled from some sort of unknown source. Pabst & Jazz Sessions is now download-able over @ DatPiff and tickets are still available for Asher Roth's upcoming small club tour, "Pabst & Jazz Parties." Rest assured, Asher Roth's long awaited sophomore album and Def Jam debut, "Is This Too Orange?" is indefinitely coming soon (March 2012) to a pair of speakers near you.

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