Thursday, March 8, 2018

Robert Herald Pens Comprehensive Review of 2 Hungry Bros. Producer Ben Boogz's LOVE HANDLES Beat Tape (HiPNOTT Records)

"LOVE HANDLES is a Hip-Hop instrumental beat tape from 2 Hungry Bros. producer Ben Boogz that boasts lo-fi production with an airy, eclectic mix of sounds and samples over percussion. Through out it's 23 tracks, there's much to take away from it that is ultimately, enjoyable; though, on a more critical note, a uniform style that can wear thin in the context of 23 consecutive tracks.

We start off with the intro track, "Love Intro," which is a short beat with a vinyl crackling Soul chop of humming and "ahh's" over some Hip-Hop drums that give a light and care-free feel, which perfectly sets the stage for much of the feel of the project. Then, going into the track "Sang Pham," which with its dreamy sung "ahh's" being chopped and looped creates an expansion of the dreamy love feel that's been introduced. By the third track, "Love Handles," it hits more of a change in pace, with the sound switching up a bit to be more hard-hitting and "street," with Track 4, "No Quitin'" giving off some strong string samples, as well. In time, the tape kicks things up a notch between Tracks #5-12 with the bassy round tone of "Biscuit Bullets," the first of many track where we start getting some smooth, yet groove-heavy and dreamy samples featuring some nice horns and low-end popping in-and-out on certain tracks... but at Track 13, it hits an end to that feel with "Funktry" that has an airy atonal sample throughout it. All in all, from there on, the vibe switches from "street" to more of its almost Psychedelic/Acid-Jazzy side with tracks like "Marble Cake" and "Nostrillz" giving a watery submerged groove.

My personal highlights from LOVE HANDLES were the tracks with strong horn samples, like on "Boss Hog" and "He's a Changed Man" and generally, Tracks #5-12, with the best being "Blood Type - Ragu;" the dark and moody aura of the track and how it sneaks up on you with excellent changes in tempo and it's percussion getting more hyped makes it easily, a stand-out track from the entire set.

Which after such a track, does bring me to my criticisms of the project: unlike in "Blood Type - Ragu," the vast majority of these tracks aren't very expansive and feature minimal and repetitive drums on nearly every track. In most tracks, the sample can be enough to save and create the feeling of the beat, but still, when these tracks are compiled together one after another, that's a setback that can begin to make it a tough listen in full past just a couple tracks, really wishing that more was going on drums-wise. Another very minor critique—which may just be a stylistic choice—but does give mixed result in some cases, is the clunky chopping of the samples themselves and how they land against the drums. With the percussion usually, being so unchanging, a lot of the samples are the most prominent points of each of the beats here, so while it does work well on a large handful of these songs, on tracks like the title track, "Love Handles," or "High Flavor," it can be off-putting, at first, before you get more adjusted to the style. My least favorites on the tape, "Funktry" and the closing track, "Cholestorollz," unfortunately, suffer the most from feeling ultimately, too repetitive and dissonant to be fully enjoyed.

All in all, as a whole, though, it may be a bit recurrent in total, there's much positive to say about this project that I do like about LOVE HANDLES; it's parts, as individuals, are signs of a producer with a nice ear for making strong soundscapes through basics and simplicity with a real classic Hip-Hop flavor and atmosphere reminiscent of instrumentals you can find on albums like Operation: Doomsday by MF DOOM or a Supreme Clientele-era Ghostface Killah. I'd personally, rate it a 7 out of 10 and feel the beats could make great tracks with added vocals, but also, stand pretty decent on their own."

Robert Herald is a music creator, as well as fan of many different music genres and styles. He views music as a source of connection, education, and entertainment and has a passion for bringing to the world his findings within the sound waves; while illustrating the importance of the musical arts on the massive scale of vitality, as well as how it interacts within daily life. Robert may or may not have a soft spot for 90's music, in particular... still, with that being said, he all-in-all, presents fair, well-thought-out, and honest opinions on anything presented because he believes that's the best way for all to learn and grow towards a better future. "What's good, y'all!?"

- R. Herald

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