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Scienz Of Life The Blaxploitation Sessions Shaman Work • 2006

Ever since their Fondle Em 12” 'Power Of Nine Either' shook the underground and their debut album 'Coming Forth By Day' was one of Y2K’s most critically acclaimed records, the Atlanta group Scienz Of Life, consisting of MC/producer ID-4-Windz and lyricist Lil Sci (the one also known as John Robinson) has evolved with every piece of work they brought to the masses.

So, even this is a predecessor of the upcoming 2007 full length release, and more of a fun and deadline-free project, of whom the title is inspired on the 70's cult black movies that fit right into a culture of black awareness and the explosion of ebony music such as soul and funk, 'The Blaxploitation Sessions' is another step forward. Thematically there’s no real link between the songs and the album title, except for the production and interpolations, that are inspired on that era (actually, most hip-hop production is). The lyrics mostly deal with praising and honouring the culture of Hip-Hop, which is celebrated in tracks like, well euh, almost every track in fact. For instance on 'Respect The Pioneers', in which the chorus goes -almost revolutionary- 'Respect the pioneers, a lot of blood, sweat and tears, some made it thirty years to get it where it is, that’s why we dedicate our lives to this and we feel so blessed to be writing this'. Or the intimate 'Y', with a minimal beat mainly consisting of an oblique bassline and the chorus going –almost suicidal- 'Hip-hop music, don’t you know, I would sacrifice my life for you?'. Both Lil Sci and Windz are filling in each other quite accordingly to their ten-year experience of performing and recording together. Lil Sci, with his trademark, raspy flow ('Didn’t like the voice, didn’t know it was top choice, now I make noooise!') and ID-4-Windz with a nasal tone and a warm, Nubian tongue.

But what about ID 4 Windz The Producer? Gosh, his well-shaped drum patterns and accurately picked-out samples are one of the main reasons why this album is so effusive and full of colourful (bright and dark) soundscapes. 'Hip-Hop Rwanda' is one of the most innovating beats we heard in the last few months, with a plaintive soul voice wandering behind the lively drums, while he takes 'Top Contender' on a whole other level by attacking your neck muscles with firm boombap and a nice KRS-One sample in the chorus. Then again, 'Never Give Up' (Dear Zev) (anyone finds a reference to Zev Love here?) has a sombre piano lick that evokes instant melancholia, just like the apocalyptic but hopeful ('We still standing') 'Represent People' ('When I do things it’s always raw like Sushi') that could’ve been a Oh No beat from some Dudley Perkins album.

'The Blaxploitation Sessions' is a happy welcome-back of a group that could easily be compared with groups like Slum Village. Jay Dee’s influence is all-present and they know it (They’ve included a J Dilla tribute here, in which Lil Sci is talking bluntly about his fascination for the Detroit beat magician 'You a legend in the eyes of many, nothing short of a superstar'), they’ve grown more and more towards that Detroit sound since their debut album, but the inspiration of Dilla only makes their producer ànd therefore their music more tasteful and, dare we say, everlasting, because this is clearly SOL’s best release till this day. May the Powers Of Nine Either be with you!

POSTED ON 10|18|2006 by cpf

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