A pair of unlikely collaborators, revered Detroit emcee Guilty Simpson and New Zealand-bred producer Leonard Charles, have joined forces to form a new rapper/producer group, The Leonard Simpson Duo. Both sharing a mutual admiration for and connection to J Dilla, Guilty & Leonard first collaborated on "Breaking Over You" for Japan-based WONDERFUL NOISE PRODUCTIONS in 2017, which we were fortunate enough to premiere right here at The Witzard. While working on his very own "Basement Funk" re-interpretation of J Dilla's magnum opus, Donuts, Basement Donuts, for HIT+RUN/WONDERFUL NOISE, Leonard Charles shared his then-progress with Guilty Simpson during a visit to his Auckland, NZ-based studio; "I asked him if he wanted to hear the versions I was working on. I was really nervous about playing it to him because I was f*cking with one of his close associates' music, but... he was feeling it and genuinely appreciated my creative approach to re-interpreting the tracks," Charles explained within our 2016 interview.
Now, following the wide success of "Breaking Over You," Leonard Charles & Guilty Simpson have joined forces as The Leonard Simpson Duo (AKA LSD) for a full-length album next year. I've, personally, been hearing rumblings about The Leonard Simpson Duo/LSD for months, but, now, Leonard & Guilty have finally released their first proper single together unto the masses. "Nobody" opens up with a lush sample pulled from Marlon Williams' "Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore" featuring Aldous Harding from the former's 2018 album, MAKE WAY FOR LOVE. A press release explains Leonard Charles' wife, Anji Sami, sent him the 2018 APRA Silver Scroll Awards-winning track with a suggestion that "the chorus could come in quicker because it felt so good." Charles says he immediately "jumped in the studio and threw a draft beat together and looped up the hook." He, then, "sent it to Guilty that night and it was a no-brainer, he jumped on it." The Leonard Simpson Duo's "Nobody" premiered over at HipHopDX just this past Friday.
Guilty Simpson told HipHopDX: "the song is about the evolution a man should go through during maturity. Negative vibes will only get a person so far, before they self-destruct." The resulting single is a brilliant, fresh take on what many have deemed New Zealand's ultimate 21st Century break-up song. "Nobody" stems from an upcoming 40-minute, 14-track album entitled LSD attributed to The Leonard Simpson Duo that culls from a wide array of rare 1960-70's New Zealand Psychedelic/Acid Rock records, as well as late 60's Jazz/Rock Fusion, some fuzzed out African records, David Axelrod's compulsory leanings, and, of course, one of The Motor City's finest emcees. LSD features additional drumming from Jed Larson, a lone feature from Wildchild of Lootpack fame on "Heavy Organ," and was mixed by fellow Kiwi producer Andy Morton AKA Submariner (Che Fu, The Feelstyle, Sola Rosa, Tyra Hammond & The Tornadoes.) Additionally, artwork and design for this record were created by conceptual mastermind Simone Cihlar, who has previously worked with Anderson .Paak, Ta-ku & Raashan Ahmad, Habibi Funk/Jakarta Records, Tom Misch, and many more. "Nobody" is now available to purchase, stream, or download on digital streaming services and The Leonard Simpson Duo's debut album, LSD, will become available Friday, January 31, 2020 through Berlin, Germany's own Jakarta Records.