J. Rawls The Hip Hop Affect

J. RawlsThe Hip Hop Affect
Like a heaping helping of your favourite comfort food, J. Rawls' characteristic blend of smoothed-out soul and jazz elements spread over tough, no-nonsense beats has served as a comforting bit of nostalgic respite from the myriad synthesized turns hip-hop has taken in recent years. His latest effort continues that trend unabashedly. Bringing together a slew of then-and-now lyrical heavyweights, The Hip Hop Affect maintains a largely light-hearted, feel-good pose throughout, demonstrating a general love for the art of rap record production, with songs like the Diamond D-assisted homage "Best Producer on the Mic," the insane 23-MC posse cut "We're On Top," a slew of casual post-track interludes and Rawls' creative use of sample-revealing beat builds. While old-time jazz snippets provide the basis for the majority of the album's sweet grooves, cuts like the warbling "Just Rhymin' With Fest" and fanciful half-time bouncer "Who Am I" do show attempts to switch things up from time to time, though the wide-ranging vocal features gathered here ensure that diversity is never truly an issue on yet another successful J. Rawls endeavour. (Nature Sounds)