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ILLNAUGHTY: Melodic Chamber (2012)

West Coast producer Illnaughty is yet another signing to Dizzy Dustin’s Kamikazi Airlines label – currently repping the sound of the west coast underground. Or at least the Long Beach part of it. But as with Dizzy’s side project Blown Celeb – you can put Ugly Duckling-style, old school, cartoon, party cuts from your mind. In fact – you know that bit on Training Day when Denzel Washington’s crooked cop suckers wannabe detective Ethan Hawke into smoking PCP whilst driving around L.A. and rookie’s vision goes green and starts to swim? That’s the vibe on this. I can’t remember what’s actually playing at that point in the film but the butter slick b-lines, soul loops and who’s who of guest rappers on Melodic Chamber is perfect for bumping in a black lowrider while driving around L.A. all fucked at a time of day when you definitely shouldn’t be. Or at least for pretending to.

One thing is certain – any producer capable of sorting out a list of guest vocalists which includes Dilated Peoples, Masta Ace, Killah Priest and KRS-One is bringing something pretty heavyweight to the table production-wise. In this case the beats are also tailor-made for the emcees in question: Happiness is a dead ringer for Expansion Team-era Dilated, Killah Priest showcase Everything’s Changed has a definite soul-Wu thing going on and the North African loops and stutter-break of What You Know About? are perfect for NY’s original Mr Angry – KRS One. The best cuts though? Try seventies funk-backed Master Fuol vehicle Jack Of All Trades (“I’m psycho – call me Norman Fuol/ Master Bates – get it – Masturbate?/ I’m like Ron Jeremy just half his weight”) and the reliably gritty pairing of RA The Rugged Man and Killah Priest on the suitably gnarly beat of Fall Back. As Alonzo put it – ‘This shit’s chess. It ain’t checkers.’

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