Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Sa-Ra Freaks the Funk with The Hollywood Recordings

The Sa-Ra creative partners have been gaining momentum since 2000, when Om’ Mas Keith, Taz Arnold, and Shafiq Husayn decided to make their own movement in music. Sa-Ra’s first success came with the remix to Pharohe Monch’s Agent Orange, and served as a prelude to the innovative, far-out production still to come. After garnering praise from rap star Kanye West, and signing with Babygrande Records, we have The Hollywood Recordings. This album displays the wide spectrum of the groups’ work over the last few years. The three members of the band Sa-Ra were all experienced hip-hop artist/producers before creating the trio, giving them a live approach to this production collective. On top of that, they were able to recruit a myriad of like-minded and successful guest artists( Erykah Badu, Kurupt, CNN, Rozzi Daime and Monch). Taz is the groups most visible lead singer, whose high-pitched, vivid lyrics remind of James Brown, and early Prince.
The tranquil intro Seagulls gives a taste of the live and raw approach they have to making music. Rugged drum loops and well placed keyboard lines of the songs, And If, Do me Gurl and Hey Love remind of classic Slum Village, mixed with late 80‘s r and b.
Their range becomes apparent with the spooky dance single, “Feel the Bass“. After a bellowing vocal introduction to Sa-Ra, the track cuts in with raw drum programming, sliding synthesizers and some low moans worthy of a haunted house dance floor. The Song features a focused Talib Kweli who flows the beat “Makes a Midsummer’s Night Dream outta Nightmares”.

After the sex-drenched vice anthem “White! (On the Floor)”, its clear why Sa-Ra calls their music the Freak. “Sweet Sour You” features the eccentric Bilal, crooning to one of his best collaborations to date. A final up-beat collabo shines with Thrilla, featuring the late great producer/rapper J. Dilla. Dilla commands “Work it Out!” as Sa-Ra gives birth to an epic sounds cape similar to Michael’s original. Sa-Ra is a group that could easily self sustain with just the talented triumvirate, yet they are able to include an array of artists without losing their loose, sensual sound. .

Production: 3.5
The method to their production is evident through their live, raw sound; making Sa-Ra a unique producer band that can even perform live. That alone makes them worth a listen

Lyrics: 2.5
Sa-Ra mixes flows of big name Mcs and distinctive singers with their own creative cadences and spoken word lyrics along the way. These hit and miss at times.

Replay Value: 3
Although this group is on to something, their intergalactic freak music leaves no middle ground, which could lead to a love it or hate it relationship with fans.

Overall: 3
Sa-Ra is a gift and curse; some will fall in love with their boundless creativity, others won’t be willing to explore it, at least not right away

Album Gems: “Feel the Bass” “Sweet Sour You” “Thrilla!”

No comments: