featured REVIEW


Okai Dekonstruktion Of The Mind Soundchron • 2006

Get your album produced by someone who’s a 'name' in hip-hop and you’re on your way… Okai, a Brooklyn MC from East Flatbush with a Haitian background, hooked up with Ayatollah (who once took a sample of Aretha Franklin an turned it into Mos Def’s 'Ms Fat Booty') in a tradition that signifies today’s hip-hop releases: producer – MC collaborations.

And why not? If Ayatollah wouldn’t be on this album, the dark shade of anonymity could’ve been wandering around this Flatbush resident for a long while. Not that he’s a bad rapper though, au contraire; while his cadence, rhyme patterns, hooks and punch-lines aren’t very groundbreaking, his smooth voice, laid-back style of rappin, hunger for the mic and his strong opinion make up a lot! Very characterising for the sound of this album is the smoothness of 'No Question', with Ayatollah’s lazy drums and piano licks, Vinija Mojica’s honey-coated voice and Okai’s lush, slow, almost talkative rhymes, makin this a very enjoyable cut to sit back and relax to. The same smoothness goes for the soulful 'Natural' and the gospellic 'Family Values', two buttery tracks that alter with the hypnotically boom-bap of 'Left We', a dedication to the rappers who inspired him. The Carribean background of Okai stipples through the danceable, reggae-esque 'Brand New Day', while Ayatollah lays another mind-blowing piano loop over a thick bass-line and raw drums in 'Phish To Come', where Okai talks baldly about his former hustling days. Nowadays, Okai walks the path of the righteous and with a great track called 'Amendment', holdin a mesmerizing soul voice loop, he points out Africa’s starvation drama and the way capitalist countries is handling the situation.

Although there’s not a magical chemistry like with the Madlib and MF Doom or the Aceyalone and RJD2 collaborations, Okai and Ayatollah have a good thing going on here. Put a hungry MC and an experienced producer together and you’ll always have sparks, and with the help of Planet Asia (on 'Face/Off') and Vinija Mojica ('No Question') you’ll have one album that does good to the ear.

POSTED ON 03|21|2006 by cpf

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