Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Selective Hearing Part 2 - URB Magazine Album Review

URB Magazine comes through with one of the best Album Reviews yet! LMNO & Kev Brown "Selective Hearing Part 2" in all digital stores now!

Long Beach native James Kelly and DC-based Kevin Brown have teamed up once again under their pseudonyms LMNO and Kev Brown, respectively, in an appropriate and highly anticipated return to their highly original and collaborative brainchild (and homage to) James Brown. Their original work was unleashed onto the world in 2008’s well-received and inventive Selective Hearing, a soulful serving of stylized beats and eloquent rhymes. With quality cuts like “The Beat Tape” and “The Cause,” James Brown threw down a debut of impressive caliber that established both LMNO and Kev Brown as a no-nonsense creative duo. Come 2010—James and Kev have been hard at work in the studio again, bringing new goodies to the faithful with their follow-up Selective Hearing Part 2. In part deux, LMNO and Kev Brown once again showcase their on-mic chemistry with accompanying flawless production that made their previous release a thoroughly satisfying listen. When one thinks of collaborative work in hip-hop, immediately what comes to mind is the host of remixes where an extra verse is added on in tacky fashion. Disclaimer: You won’t find this type of work here. In a true collaborative fashion, Selective Hearing Part 2 is a two-pronged endeavor; the combination of Kev Brown and LMNO is an unremitting, heavy-hitting, and clever interplay that illustrate each other’s diverse and complementary talents. As LMNO expresses of himself (and social networking) in his work on Good Gawd (featuring Hassaan Mackey), “I don’t appeal to the bitter. I never was a follower until Twitter.”

Selective Hearing Part 2 in many ways picks up exactly where the first album left off and is greatly expanded upon with original production coming straight from the mind of Kev Brown (who, like in the first release, is featured vocally—this time more prominently). The start studded guest vocals don’t lag too far behind either—guests like Chali 2na, Hassaan Mackey, Declaime, Kenn Starr and others lend their vocals to this ambitious musical project. The album begins on a very energetic note, the opener: “The Ultimate” sets off the album in an emphatic and decidedly hip-hop manner. Kev Brown and LMNO announce themselves as James Brown (JB’s) with appropriate funk/jazz/soul sample-based production reminiscent of some of the most iconic Pete Rock cuts. The second jam titled “James Brown” is one of the most stellar tracks on the album. This song really emphasizes the best of this duo, Kev Brown aptly lacing the track with some interesting rhymes (and brilliantly flipped samples) while LMNO awaits his vocal entrance (roughly a minute into the song)—and as is characteristic, LMNO comes correct with an uninhibited consciousness that comments on the staleness of the state of mainstream hip-hop. He rhymes: “It was stuffy, so we brought some ventilation—we need to air it with evaporation; to your video, radio and even your Playstation, James Brown flows with motivation.”

The first single release, “Ya Know” is a thoroughly headnodding and ingeniously sample-driven composition through a central multilayered chorus containing James Brown (the man himself) saying “Uh, with your bad self!” from the “Say It Loud (I’m Black and Proud)” original source. Kev Brown and James Kelly both employ conscious and multisyllabic rhyme schemes, which keep the pace of the music consistent, intelligibly moving from concept to concept. Kev Brown’s production is on point in this release and demonstrates his on and off-mic repertoire. The prolific LMNO can do no wrong; Kelly’s style is, as always, unique and identifiable as one that continually promotes positivity through the hip-hop art form. Other special tracks on this album include “Gotta Get It (featuring Kenn Starr)” and “Guaranteed (featuring Chali 2na of Jurassic 5).” Although I single these tracks out as my personal go-to favorites, all the tracks are accomplished and well authored in their own right. LMNO & Kev Brown’s music expresses the humor, reality and history of their experiences, always keeping their musical elements cohesive through their palpable on-mic chemistry. As James Kelly/LMNO says on another of the standout tracks on this album featuring Declaime and Mr. Brady, “James Brown we stay rocking, knocking down these doors ever so often; cause a reaction without bashing; we stay clashing with the speakers blasting!

Check out the first single off Selective Hearing Part 2 “Ya Know” and look out for LMNO and Kev Brown who are currently touring throughout the United States and Europe! If their recorded work in both Part 1 and 2 are any indication, their live show is bound to be off the hook!

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