Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Selective Hearing Part 2 - Above Ground Magazine Album Review

Above Ground Magazine were kind enough to review LMNO & Kev's latest masterpiece "Selective Hearing Part 2" (out now). Read the review in full below:

Heading into their 2nd collabo album together, the unlikely pair that is Cali underground staple and Visionaries LMNO and saavy Maryland beatsmith Kev Brown seem to be poised to become the best frequent collab duo this side of Murs and 9th Wonder…If you don’t believe me just go listen to their latest collab album Selective Hearing Part 2; a respectful bow in the direction of the music industry’s most prolific Soul man, the late James Brown.

The marks were all high after these two first took us on a jaunt through their sound clashing, and I’m pleased to say after this 2nd whirl the grades are equally impressive. Combining to form a force that they label “James Brown” (after LMNO’s 1st name and Kev’s last) the energy and raw aesthetic in this album’s music is probably the caliber of which the real Mr. James Brown would highly approve of. Fittingly at moments on this album Kev uses some samples from the late Godfather of Soul to highlight LMNO’s dense wordplay…The opening cut, “The Ultimate” is just damn near perfect as it finds Kev and L trading bars over a gloriously funky beat source.

While we’re not treated to a huge amount of music (there’s only 11 tracks here) what is contained is pure hip-hop at it’s highest underground degree. Kev’s minimalist, yet crafty beat stylings power heavy joints like “Kragenoff” and “We Stay Rockin”. There’s little to no filler to be found and if your browsing around for an album that’s strictly beats and rhymes oriented this is your top shelf choice. A particular track that jumped out as a personal favorite was the Trek Life assisted “Do It Again”, where Kev doled out perhaps his best vocal performance of the album over a raucously fun sound bed that sports excellently placed cymbal crashes.

The chemistry between Kev and L remains plentiful as things progress and the inclusion of some of Kev’s Low Budget fam only adds to the witches brew of insightful, hard line lyrics. Kenn Starr steals the show with a strong performance on the hypnotizing “Gotta Get It”; a satisfying offering no matter what your level of MC deciphering is. Not to be out done, LMNO flexes his Visionaries crew connections and has Chal 2na come through for a moment to bruise one of Kev’s strongest beat selections from the entire album. The former Jurassic 5′er is impressive and lends the pair one of his better verses in recent memory for the infectious banger that is “Guaranteed”.

Listening to Selective Hearing Part 2 there’s no doubt your focus will be consumed. Kev found a great stride with his beatwork & rhyming, and L is steadily improving into one of my fav. oddball delivery flowers the underground circuit has to offer. While they don’t re-invent the wheel, they do definitely provide ample Hip-Hop themes that stir up the magic that thee original James Brown used in his un-flinching brand of funk…the fingerprint that the Hardest Working Man In Show Business left us is perhaps one of the greatest of any heavily sampled musician in Hip-Hop. The nod that Kev and L pay him here is dully appreciated and the type of task that is revisiting some of his work in a new way truly is only undertaken by the headiest of musical minds. The only thing that took away from this album being absolutely perfect was that it was simply just not long enough.

$17.99 out of $20

-Dominick “BIG D O” Ledezma

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