Madlib – “Sound Ancestors” review

This is a brand new album from Oxnard icon Madlib. Getting his start as 1/3 of the trio Lootpack, he would go on to become one of the most well respected producers in all of hip hop from his unique ear for sample to his vast discography ranging from Madvillainy to WLIB AM: King of the Wigflip & his 2 albums under the high-pithed alter ego Quasimoto. However to finish off the first month of 2021, the Beat Konducta coming through with a new batch of beats.

After the futuristic “There Is No Time” intro, the first instrumental “The Call” throws it back to the days of ’70s blaxpoitation films whereas the “Theme de Crabtree” dabbles into boom bap territory. The “Road of the Lonely Ones” instrumental has a bittersweet, soulful vibe that I like a lot while “Loose Goose” is probably the quirkiest beat in the tracklisting. The “Dirtknock” instrumental cleverly fuses elements of boom bap & trip hop while “Hopprock” experiments with sound collage & field recordings. The “Riddim Chant” instrumental is the perfect track to smoke to with it’s stripped-back sound while the title track dives right into spiritual jazz territority.

The 2-parter “One for Quartabê / Right Now” starts off by going into a Latin direction à la The Medicine Show 2: Flight to Brazil, but then transitions into something more smoother. The “Hang Out (Phone Off)” instrumental jumps right back into that traditional boom bap sound while “Two for 2” is a super funky tribute to the late J Dilla. The “Latino Negro” instrumental switches gears back into Latin territority while “The New Normal” makes me feel like I’m being ascedened to the pearly gates. The “Chino” instrumental fuses together elements of boom bap & soul very well whereas “Duumbiyay” obviously throws it back to Beat Konducta, Vols. 3 & 4: Beat Konducta in India with it’s Middle Eastern samples.

Dude is one of my all-time favorite producers & he does not disappoint on this new album whatsoever. It’s amalgoration of all the sounds he’s dabbled with in the past from experimental hip hop & jazz to Indian & Brazilian music. If you’re a true fan of Madlib’s production, then this is a must listen in my eyes.

Score: 4/5

The Professionals – Self-Titled review

The Professionals are a hip hop duo from Oxnard, California consisting of Oh No on the mic along with his older brother Madlib on production. Both of whom have made household names for themselves in the West Coast underground in their own rights. An album together has been long overdue in my opinion & has been hinted at since 2008, but it seems like we’re finally getting it a little over a decade later.

After the “My House” intro, we get right into the first song “The Pros”. Which is a very short but gritty way for the duo to reintroduce themselves to the listener. The next track “Payday” of course talks about making money over a nondescript instrumental while the song “Give N Take” tells the story of Oh No trying to sleep with a woman at 3am over a somewhat funky instrumental with this vocal sample relaying in & out like a radio transmission. The track “Superhumans” with Chino XL & eLZhi sees the 3 comparing themselves to superheroes over a haunting instrumental while the song “Buggin'” talks about people annoying him over a somber beat.

The track “CDP Breakdown” talks about wanting to fight someone over a grimy boom bap beat while the song “Timeless Treasure” gets conscious over a tense instrumental. The track “I Jus Wanna” talks about wanting to relax over a mellow boom bap beat while the song “Away Too Long” talks about the rap game over an extravagant instrumental. The track “Make Due” is a dedication to people putting their last buck on trying to get it over a gorgeous instrumental while the song “Tired Atlas” is another politically charged cut much like “Timeless Treasure” over a hypnotic loop. The album then finishes with “Dishonored Valor”, where Oh No talks about the soldiers who went A.W.O.L. over a vintage sample.

I personally have been waiting on this album for a long time & now that we finally got it, it’s not as perfect as I’d hoped yet solid. Madlib’s production is creative always & Oh No’s rapping is sharp, but it could’ve used a couple more features in my opinion. Nonetheless, I’m still happy with the outcome of what the 2 legendary Oxnard siblings did together.

Score: 4/5