Lushlife Cassette City

Perhaps best known for his Kanye-meets-Beach Boys West Sounds experiment a few years back, multi-instrumentalist songwriting MC Lushlife has crafted a sophomore record in Cassette City that wholly personifies his unique moniker. Choosing to work outward from a loose sense of full-bodied hip hop sensibilities, the trained jazz composer lets both his musical imagination and expansive artistic influences run wild, wielding a creative touch tempered in a warm bath of melodious, expertly diced samples and luscious, leftfield instrumentation that offers increasingly inspired revelations with each spin. Cuts like "Bottle Rocket" showcase the technical dexterity of his classical pianist and competent drummer traits, just as the thickly layered audio snatches of "The Songbird Authentic" and film score-fashioned three-part "Meridian" interludes display the depths of Lushlife's creative wellspring. It should also be mentioned that the Philly-based lyricist is no slouch on the mic, trading verses with Camp Lo and Elzhi over his many more conventional though no less ambitious productions. All of this combines to form a sound testament to where hip-hop can go when viewed as part of a much broader and historical musical spectrum. (Rapster)