Sa-Ra Creative Partners The Hollywood Recordings

Sa-Ra Creative Partners The Hollywood Recordings
Sa-Ra are producers/musicians Om’Mas Keith, Taz Arnold and Shafiq Husayn. "Feel The Bass” starts with a robotic-voiced introduction, "This is a Sa-Ra Production,” then the synthesiser seizes control and Talib Kweli unleashes a string of party lyrics that bop to the beat’s sweet knock. It has one foot in the sleaze of P-Funk and the other in J-Dilla’s futuristic boom-bap, and most of the album downshifts from this up-tempo banger. Swirling hymns like "So Special” or "Glorious” fill the head with helium. Two distinct types of songs emerge here: freaky songs about love/sex and everything else. Everything else doesn’t stimulate quite like pro-oral sex ditty "Fish Fillet,” featuring Pharoahe Monch, and even when sex is the topic the lyrics often fail to anchor the ear. The Hollywood Recordings feel right in parts and uncomfortable in others. It cuts and pastes older Sa-Ra songs (sans guests) with record label requested collaborations with rappers/R&B singers that sometimes muddy up the music. Sa-Ra regains your trust with the blissed-out rhythms of "Fly Away,” which features Erykah Badu and Georgia Anne Muldrow purring over some sweet, sophisticated funk. Only a fraction of Sa-Ra’s true potential is realised by this debut compilation, which reveals greatness in a glimmer of magic.

There’s a seedy, hyper-sexualised, almost underworld quality to The Hollywood Recordings. Was this on purpose?
Taz: We’re grown ups. And it doesn’t have anything to do with being grown or not being grown because you see what you see whether you’re a kid or an adult, but we are definitely exploring some of those nuances of life in our music. This is an adult situation with this music. It’s R-rated; our shit is definitely not PG. To appreciate the light you have to experience darkness. You have to know that every day is not necessarily a great day.

The album seems disjointed, where some songs seem connected but as a front-to-back listen it doesn't work.
It’s not that type of an album. It’s the type of an album where you have songs that don’t go together. It doesn’t flow. There are so many songs; it’s just an offering, realistically. We never sat down and said, "this is going to go with that.” It was like, "Let’s put all these songs on here that are dope and that need to come out.” I don't have to dedicate myself to one particular style because it’s not my group. It’s not Sa-Ra [the band] it’s the Sa-Ra Creative Partners [the producers]. If you listen to it for continuity you’re not going to hear it because it’s not about that. (Babygrande)