Best described as a modern day Earth, Wind and Fire with a dab of Stevie Wonder thrown in, Incognitos acid funk/jazz sound has set the groundwork for plenty of imitators. But the legends know who to collaborate with, hence the appearances of Chaka Khan, Leon Ware, and Al McKay (of the aforementioned Earth, Wind and Fire) on this set. These tunes tool along with plenty of momentum, propelled by horns and strings while the drums keep the groovin beats on track; Lowdown throws Mario Biondi into the mix with Chaka Khan, Put a Little Lovin in Your Heart is five minutes of moving-your-feet music, and closer Tell Me What to Do wraps these jams up with soul.
Kero One - Kinetic World - Plug Label
There are few matters of questionable subjects within his tunes, but for the most part, Kero One achieves quite a lot on this album, on which he performs most of the vocals, beats, and scratching on his own. A mix of east coast-west coast rap beats seasoned with a few worldbeat sounds, Asian influences, and a variety of production styles, he addresses relationships on On Bended Knee and warns of too big of a lifestyle on Fast Life; guest artists include appearances from Tablo, Dminor, and The Tones, among others.
Slum Village - Villa Manifesto - E1 Entertainment
They may have had a tumultuous career to date since their industry beginnings in 2000, between the member switches and difficult times all around - but Slum Village is holding on, with the groups T3 saying in a statement that he wanted to pull the squad together once again. Their sixth studio album shows a return to more of their earlier classic sound, with Earl Flinn roping in one of Madlibs beats, The Reunion Pt. 2 offering up more directed, emotional subject matter (as well as a few warnings), and Dance bringing in the - well, dance beats.
Paul Wall - Heart of a Champion - Asylum
Texas jeweler-slash-rapper Wall (and his diamond-encrusted teeth) release his fourth major label set through Asylum, where hes teamed up with pal (and Blink-182 band member) Travis Barker on most of the production duties. In addition to Walls own confident, if self-absorbed, performances on songs like Take Notes (about his own bling-bedecked lifestyle) and Live It, he welcomes in the likes of
Beanz N Kornbread to add production where Barker didnt, as well as guest performers Chamillionaire, Devin the Dude, and Slim Thug, among others.