Any time you’re on the lookout for some hazy summer hip-hop, your classic safe bets are the likes of De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, and maybe even Chance the Rapper in his current Dayglo Coloring Book phase.
But this latest team-up from Chicago crew Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and Dubliner Mathman is hitting that sun-flared sweet spot this week.
Where I’m From is the first single from HBE and Mathman, aka Dublin producer Adam Fogarty, but it’s just the opening gambit in a project that’s been gestating for two years. It’s also the opening track of their collaborative album Hyp Hop, that’ll get a big tick from fans of golden era boom bap.
All eight members of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are sons of legendary jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran, and if you’ve been at a gig you’ll have seen them locked in a freewheeling fusion of jazz, swing, funk and hip-hop. But this time they’ve set the tuba, trombones and trumpets aside for the whole project, giving Mathman full production control, allowing them to indulge in their love of hip-hop.
The new single – and the rest of Hyp Hop – is a big left turn from Mathman’s last grimey ragga productions on Badman and Rapih with Dublin MC Mango.
The single bobs along on jazzy tom rolls, toy piano, vinyl and reel-to-reel tape effects and a sweet vocal melody loop you’d expect to hear on a Madlib compilation of 70s French library music.
The golden era production sheen is the perfect complement to the MCs – classic pass the mic bragging about their “sublime diction”, mixed with cautionary tales about Chi-Town’s darker alleys. There’s also bonus scratching from former Irish DMC mixing champ DJ Tu-Ki.
There’ll be plenty more where that came from when Hyp Hop is released on August 1. It’ll be available on download and limited edition cassette, if you fancy throwing a block party with an old boom box.