Chris Lowe Black Life 2: The Next Thing Smokin'

According to Mims’ recent hit, "This Is Why I’m Hot,” he’s apparently putting "New York on his back.” The fact that he intones these words without irony over a Southern-influenced hip-hop beat speaks volumes about hip-hop’s current geographical crosspollination. However, there are those who probably aren’t too thrilled with these latest developments. Enter NYC’s Chris Lowe. While Lowe may not be a well-known name to some heads, his credentials are impeccable. He’s known to have rolled with EPMD and Large Professor, to name a few, and he happened to produce Stezo’s classic "It’s My Turn” single, which in collaboration with production associate Dooley O, brought the infamous "Skull Snaps” break to prominence from a dusty Connecticut basement. His crate-digging notoriety earned him the title of "break beat king.” Not surprisingly, Lowe is an old-school sentimentalist. Black Life 2 contains copious references to hip-hop’s late ’80s golden era but unlike many veterans who openly grouch about contemporary artists, Lowe utilises a sharp sense of humour. He satirises the eternally high on the "Next Thing Smokin’” intro, as well as throughout the record, and tempers the proceedings with a good dose of self-deprecation. Indeed, he presents the much too short Black Life 2 as "something else to turn your back on” — his Black Life solo debut was virtually ignored. He doesn’t seem too worried though. On standout banger "Back To Back,” he laments that he made the record "just so I could have something to feel.” With a bit of luck, he may have a few more people also feeling the music. And while he knows he may not be "hot,” there’s no question that Chris Lowe is fly. (Nature Sounds)