By Del F. CowieThe group formerly known as Platinum Pied Pipers may have shortened their name, but it's no sign they are scaling down - PPP are going for bigger and better this time around. For their sophomore effort Abundance, producer Waajeed and multi-instrumentalist Saadiq have recruited soul singers Karma Stewart and Coultrain who wrote the bulk of the album's songs, to front the group. It's a marked change from the rotating cast featured on the hip-hop fuelled minimalism of their 2005 debut Triple P.
"I would definitely say with this album it's really more a group as opposed to producers that just happened to have a few featured artists," says Saadiq. "We consider Coultrain and Karma really part of the group and you see it on stage." The group's energetic stage show is highlighted by Stewart's manic presence, with all members resplendent in white suits. "It's like a celebration, hence the white," says Waajeed. "As opposed to beating ourselves up over the all the trials and tribulations that we've had, it's easier for us to celebrate our growth."
That party might last a while. Abundance is relentless, veering from futuristic and elegiac electro funk to throwback Motown at a moment's notice. But PPP are hardly jumping on bandwagons. In fact, the common elements of the group's new expansive sound can be traced back to all the sounds emanating out of Detroit; Waajeed often passed the Detroit Motown museum on the way to school. "Being away from Detroit and living in Brooklyn made me kinda look at Detroit differently and made me kind of revisit my roots, at least in my own head," says Waajeed. "The entire album was mixed in Detroit. And I can definitely say it's a hometown sound. It's very symbolic throughout this record."