Ol’ Burger BeatsVuyo - Dialogue. Music Album Reviews

Ol’ Burger BeatsVuyo - Dialogue. Music Album Reviews
With their dusky, languid jazz-rap, the Norwegian duo stakes its own territory in hip-hop’s ever-expanding diaspora.

During the SP-1200’s heyday, jazz samples reigned supreme. Introduced in 1987, the drum machine’s capacity to loop extended, high-fidelity instrumental samples sparked a revolution among hip-hop composers, its burly drums and warm basslines defining an era in rap production. When U.S. copyright law caught up—making the dense layering of Reachin’ and Mecca and the Soul Brother a pricy, if not legally dubious, method—the free-flowing jazz-rap style found a home overseas, where producers continued to mine record crates for horn solos and score their own interpolations. The French rapper MC Solaar, a veteran of Guru’s Jazzmatazz series, found international stardom with an acid-fusion sound; to the envy of their Stateside contemporaries, the British production team Us3 was given run of the Blue Note catalog for 1993’s Hand on the Torch and 1997’s Broadway & 52nd.
To a jaundiced eye, much of hip-hop history can be distilled to these cycles of technological innovation stymied by punitive enforcement: the sampling wars, the file-sharing wars, the streaming wars, the hip-hop police. As European acts eagerly seized the jazz-rap baton, they were often frustrated by the self-referential intricacies of a medium blended from two deeply American traditions. Late-’00s entries by Dela, Funky DL, and Jazz Liberatorz wistfully evoked early-’90s sounds but whiffed on key details, their digitized percussion lacking the SP’s smoky flavor, their earnest rhymes begging for a dose of Guru or C.L. Smooth’s hard-nosed pragmatism. While the Norwegian duo Vuyo and Ol’ Burger Beats occupies the same lineage, mining dusty jazz breaks for their source material, their stylistic initiative and subject matter ensure that their music isn’t entirely backward-looking. Their new full-length Dialogue. stakes its own territory among hip-hop’s ever-expanding diaspora.

Dialogue.’s singularity owes largely to Vuyo himself, a Zimbabwe-born rapper who rhymes in a bemused purr. His relaxed delivery is emphasized by Burger Beats’ shrewd engineering: the vocal delay lends the effect of a staticky landline connection. The instrumentals also have a lo-fi affect, with a cozy vinyl sizzle evident across most of the samples. Rather than overlaying synthetic or filtered basslines, Burger Beats loops stand-up bass chords, rimshots and cymbals left intact, and punches in horns for the choruses. “Dusty Grooves” and “88 Keys” are built around hypnotic guitar blends, Vuyo shifting seamlessly between a discursive drawl, double-time delivery, and languid hooks. A trumpet solo punctuates the first instrumental break on “Schengen Visa”; during the second verse, a flute pipes in with the same grace-noted melody. The songs flow into one another, each nestled within a viscous 40 bpm range.

The whole affair feels like an equatorial vacation, which is to say that Dialogue might have gotten by on ambiance alone—but Vuyo’s inquisitive writing style rewards engaged listening. His couplets eschew narrative structure, but his rich allusions convey autobiographical snatches and diasporic portraits. On “Summer of George,” Vuyo warily scrutinizes identity politics and woke corporatism: “I’m down with the cause brother, Wakanda forever/Put hot sauce on all courses, they makin’ them better/I’ve seen all of Fresh Prince, I’ve listened to rap/I understood early that cheddar means stacks.”

A Jay-Z-quoting pop-culture junkie with intimate knowledge of colonial legacies, he brings a flippant perspective to the culture wars du jour, approaching hip-hop as an outsider without any compulsion to ingratiate himself. The album’s nominal theme is tied together by a series of recorded voicemails from Vuyo’s sister, who offers advice on repairing a rift with their father, a former South African revolutionary. What goes unsaid in the one-sided exchange is the generational gap between Vuyo and his father: What could a biracial, Seinfeld-obsessed, smartphone-tethered millennial possibly have in common with an anti-apartheid activist?

The answer is more than you might expect. Vuyo spent parts of his childhood in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, and Norway, and at its best, Dialogue.’s diasporic elements make for a hazy, secret-history insularity reminiscent of a Mach-Hommy tape. (The chorus of “Mahershala Ali” threads together scratched vocals from Nas and Big L, which sound like transmissions from another planet.) But his distinctive slang and inflection frame more universal commentary. On “Conflict,” the most overtly political track, Vuyo recalls, “I told my ma, I don’t wanna go back/ ‘Cause when the bomb go off, they assume that he’s black.” That these scenes arrive without context doesn’t really matter; they might as easily be set in Los Angeles as in Lusaka. At times, the duo’s eccentricity feels almost aloof to the wider world, unabashed as they are in their idealism and quirky nostalgia. But in the sense that all hip-hop exists in conversation with ugly American history, Dialogue. is more than up to the task.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Ol’ Burger BeatsVuyo - Dialogue. Music Album Reviews Ol’ Burger BeatsVuyo - Dialogue. Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on March 03, 2021 Rating: 5


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