CD Reviews

4evaNADay, Special Request and Trust Me

Southern Hospitality Hip-Hop

Big K.R.I.T. 4evaNADay (Self-Released)

If you had to describe Big K.R.I.T.’s sound, it would be like Michael Eric Dyson riding through the country in a red candy-painted drop-top ’64 Chevy. He’s socially conscious, but his Southern roots run deep and give him an edge when it comes to crafting the perfect songs to connect with the people in the streets and in the boardroom. As he puts the finishing touches on his Def Jam debut Live from the Underground, the Mississippi MC drops 4evaNaDay to tide over fans. As always, K.R.I.T. is lyrically sharp over self-produced soulful soundscapes that will likely draw comparisons to Outkast. K.R.I.T. proves that he is as versatile as they come on 4evaNaDay. He provides driving music with the trunk-rattling “Me and My Old School,” laments on the struggle to hold a relationship together on “Red Eye” and gets introspective on “Wake Up.” In an era of hip-hop in which artists churn out disposable music, Big K.R.I.T. shows that quality still reigns supreme.  ★★★★☆

Funky R&B

1-O.A.K. Special Request (Honor Roll)

You may be familiar with Bay Area singer/songwriter 1-O.A.K. (One Of A Kind) as his voice has been heard on songs by Teedra Moses and Too $hort. Rather than just contribute choruses, 1-O.A.K. goes the full-album route with Special Request. A sort of throwback to ’90s R&B, 1-O.A.K. manages to navigate a number of subjects without sounding like everything on the radio. Although he doesn’t carry a strong set of vocals, 1-O.A.K. is able to stay within his range and avoid severe missteps with his voice. The silky “High Roller” and mellow “Get Right” are standouts, thanks to their effortless execution. However, everything delivered isn’t via “special request.” There’s certainly some fat that could have been trimmed from the 13-song track list to make this a more consistent listen. “Sweet Memories” and “Stay With Me” sift away the momentum because the production and vocals are easily forgettable. Aside from a few potholes, Special Request is a relatively smooth ride. ★★☆☆☆

Moody Instrumentals

Sango Trust Me (Soulection)

Do you ever have those days where you just want to listen to some relaxing music without those pesky vocals getting in the way? Twenty-year-old producer Sango knows exactly how you feel. The Seattle beatsmith has received acclaim for his remixes of songs from Drake, Frank Ocean and The Weeknd. But rather than release a remix project, Sango puts out an instrumental EP that showcases his work behind the boards. Traces of hip-hop, electronic and deep house can be found throughout Sango’s instrumental journey as he chops up samples from the likes of Teddy Pendergrass and Toro Y Moi. Arrangements range from bass-heavy space grooves (“Anything”) to glitchy up-tempo blips (“269”) that carry the listener through a moody experience. Meditative in a sense, Trust Me is Sango’s cerebral approach at getting you to understand his influences without a rapper or singer overpowering the music. Trust Me is able to project Sango’s feelings without uttering a single word. That’s an accomplishment in itself. ★★★☆☆