In 2005, hip hop fans were treated to an excellent record from supergroup Deepspace 5, containing emcees the likes of Playdough, manCHILD, Listener, and several others. Those 19 tracks were made up of beats created by two men, DJ Dust and Beat Rabbi. Since that album, Beat Rabbi has been working on a little project of his own, with the intention of going old school with his beats. And from all of his hard work comes Deepspace5oul.
Just to clear up any ideas you may have about this being a hip hop instrumental album, it's not. Though the instrumentals did come with a pre-order of the album, Beat Rabbi utilized the vocal talents of the Deepspace crew, along with newcomer illtripp (although he is usually pretty sloppy in the way he flows). The majority of the songs contain either two of the emcees working together to create a full-length song, or a single emcee performing for about a minute and a half (maybe a little longer). Stand-out tracks are Playdough and Sivion in the lyrically enlightening "Beautiful," the Mars ILL-remixed "Lip Service," and the funky backdrop of "Dance Your Life Away" (as Listener is quickly becoming one of my favorite emcees). You also can't go wrong with the full ensemble on the title track, where each emcee gets to display his own individual style.
The downside to this album lies in the style of the beats. They're not bad, per se. It's just that some genres have a tendency to die out and then, years later, try to inch its way back in, only to receive mixed reactions from listeners (ie, disco). Deepspace5oul is heavily drenched with the sounds of early 90s hip hop, which doesn't really have a big appeal to the average hip hop fan anymore. While the production value is great and the mixture of the beats with the vocal talent is on point, I find myself skipping through the instrumental tracks, especially the more-than-4-minute-long intro.
While the beats may not be a personal preference of mine, they are produced very well, and the sound quality is hard to match. And the immense talent of the Deepspace crew more than makes up for it. Fans of any of the members of DS5 will enjoy this, as well as fans of early hip hop artists. But let's hope next time around, it's a disc full of DJ Dust beats!- Review date: 2/8/08, written by Scott Fryberger
Record Label: illect Recordings
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