itchysilk writer LHenrixx steps out once again with a seamless track by track review of the ep 127 Tape by New Yorker King I Divine. It’s an ep which has all the hallmarks of being an underground classic. For sure, in fact, this producer extraordinaire has the tendency to drop material saturated with that cultured, classic hip-hop vibe.
For the second time in a row, King I Divine embraces the gift of giving and graced his fans with an EP, the ‘127 Tape’ on his birthday, 1/27/2017. This 7-track offering is a thematic breath of fresh air which manages to maintain the consistency that has solidified his place within music production. In addition to his ability to fuse a plethora of musical influences together, his ear for samples is impeccable. There is an art to sampling- but locating theme, topic or even song-title relevant samples would be an arduous task for the average individual. Almost the equivalent of a musical pun, King I Divine’s ‘127 Tape’ utilises notable samples as playful narration. Fusing compositions and live elements, it’s organic Hip Hop essence- (especially his renowned horns and drums) and playful quotes which are sprinkled throughout the music to create a conversation.
The intro ‘Get On’ is a warm welcome; militant percussion, a cinematic resonant bassline, chilling layers within the vocal sample and a head-bopping cadence that would be blissful on lounge/club speakers. King I Divine has an appetency for religiously creating a indulgent wall of sound within his beats which is true to form in the opening track. (I would personally deem it a bad-ass gym inspiration vibe whilst creating a montage of some sort in my head.) There are tracks for fans from all angles of the musical spectrum.
BELLE CURVE FT BUSCRATES
Featuring fellow electronic Hip Hop producer Buscrates, this is an undeniable vibe for funk and boom bap heads; with a feel good bounce and a nostalgic feel of Summer. It’s for those who love rap, stripped to its raw essence.
Featuring New York artist D. Julien, this cut has an underground jazz club essence. Aptly quoted in the hook, it gives ‘soul food for thought’ with hard hitting lyrics that are relevant to the current trends of corruption in rap music and personal life experiences. D. Julien’s flow is tailor made to the music.
THE FIRST WAY
King I Divine’s die- hard fans who have been faithful to his constant, distinct, refined approach, would resonate with this EP especially: This is a melody-led loop, perfect for easy listening with a seductive riff.
This is ‘So Good!’ (emphasis on the rightful exclamation mark). It is a classic sounding Hip Hop number with a nod to the boom- bap boldness, present in his acclaimed Crown Jewelz 3. The piece is somewhat reminiscent of the outfit Little Brother and their alternative selves.
‘iDream‘ features the multifaceted artist Yamin Semali; a tight flow interwoven with imagery, soul and thought-invoking lyricism and Scienze (half of THE duo, Divine Scienze) also laces a verse about humility and good vibes.
Saving the best for last; (track 3 in fact). ‘Yeah YO!’ cannot be described as anything other than a psychedelic-induced hip hop lullaby. Channelling a hypnotic loop and an almost unwritten swing, ‘Yeah YO!’ is reminiscent of classics like Roy Ayers’- Everybody Loves the Sunshine (1976), Omar’s- Nothing Like This (1990), Outkast’s- Prototype (2003) and an Isley Brothers jam session, ‘Yeah YO!’ showcases King I Divine‘s ability to comfortably elevate above genre limits. (Off the record: I swear that ‘YO!’ vocal sounded like ODB, am I right? *goes off into the adlib tangent at the end of ‘Baby I Got Your Money’ (1999)*
‘127 EP‘ has elements that would connect most music lovers and King I Divine somehow manages to create an equilibrium to an instrumental EP that does not rely on lyricism to deliver suspense, transitions or mood. If you are not familiar with his music, take a walk from the conventional path of today’s one-track (pun intended) production. It is never too late to ‘Get On’ (shout outs to the Intro which is one of my favorites, seriously). I’ll end this review with this phrase: “Listen to these, it’s good music, you’ll like it.” – ‘Get On’ (sample) #127Tape.