While producer Tom Caruana is well-known to MB readers for a string of epic mash-up albums and his live hip-hop band, Son Of Sam, the name of rapper Boog Brown is not one that has previously graced the virtual pages of monkeyboxing. Nevertheless, the Queens-based (by way of Detroit and Atlanta) emcee has an impressive CV including previous work with Apollo Brown and Dillon (Maurer) – and now, to add to that, a new self-titled LP with Caruana.
The album follows hot on the heels of the Boog Brown EP, the culmination of a process which began a couple of years ago. Things began with the pair collaborating on four tracks which were pressed to 45 and grew from there, ultimately leading to this ten-track long-player which also boasts three additional remixes. Stylistically, Brown and Carunana craft an album that is by turns gritty and soulful – something exemplified in the juxtaposition of opener Do It (Yeah) with second cut A Little Light. On the former an apparently autobiographical tale on the perils of the working in the music industry unfolds over a stripped-back beat that is little more than double bass and voodoo drums with occasional horn stabs. The latter, by contrast, is a lilting, head-nod and exhortation to maintain a positive vibe in the face of the everyday grind. Third cut Music And Me featuring Flo, is all about the love rhymes and features a sung hook from one of Caruana’s vast web of musical associates, the folksy, English lilt of whom some will recognise from any number of his productions. The LP features a number of other collabs too – yU on the stripped-back prohibition-era jazzy thump of Win, Dillon himself on the pulsing atmospherics of Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangster, Nolan The Ninja on the swirling space-funky positivity of Maintain and best of all the skanking gypsy bounce of Shotgun featuring Big Rec. If you dig the likes of Bahamadia or Jean Grae, this’ll be right up your alley.
(Out now on Tea Sea Records)