Voice Gumbo

Voice Gumbo
Photo: GQ Royal
You might remember this great vocal poet from the lyrics she dropped on Moonstarr’s Dupont release a few years ago so it might come as a surprise that she’s just coming at us with her debut now. The hold-up likely has to do with Voice getting married, becoming the mother to two children while the New Orleans MC escaped Katrina — all events that shape Gumbo as this lyricists drops knowledge from start to finish. Voice zones in on the present problems over the current state of hip-hop, name dropping classic figures and how things used to be done, focusing more on what needs to be done. She also often displays her humour and cleverness talking about shooting a photo of her child eating cereal in order to raise funds Sally Struthers-style just to pay rent as she expresses frustration over untalented artists making a fortune. These nice little drops of charm help you fall for Voice as you champion her everyday struggles rather than roll your eyes at what could have come off as overly preachy. The majority of the beats are handled by Moonstarr and LAL’s Murr, who offer the strongest numbers Gumbo, as the pair have a knack of producing stripped down but atmospheric rhythms with a hint of electronic presence. The other notable producer is 4Hero’s Marc Mac who provides a rather simple beefed-up handclap break for "Total Eclipse,” which along with Voice’s hook urging smart intelligent women to escape their commonly dumbed-down role in hip-hop provides one of the finer moments of this debut. Voice is without a doubt talented and it would be nice to see her go far with this record, rather than being held back by all the obstacles and annoyances she’s fighting. (Public Transit)