DJ Babu The Beat Tape: Volume 1

As the DJ for Dilated Peoples and a member of the legendary Beat Junkies, you might tend to forget that Babu is also an excellent beat-maker, but this collection of production highlights should make you take notice. With no track clocking in over two minutes, it’s sort of tricky to break down this beat collection like a normal record because listening to Bab’s snippets of strictly banging hip-hop sounds more like shopping for your next hit single to drop a verse over. Still, the dozens of breaks are sewn together nicely, making for a flawless listen from start to finish, and range from Kanye and Dilla inspirations (one track is actually a Dilla reworking dedicated to the late legend) to numerous loops that recall the glory days of his Dilated crew. The strongest numbers on The Beat Tape tend to contain samples of soul hooks, giving Babu’s creations more of a composition feel, and you don’t have to freestyle in your head to fill in the blanks. Good examples of this include the great "Veetee,” which combines chopped-up female preaching along with an extended chorus, as well as other soulful odes to love such as "Round and Round” and the appropriately titled "Love.” It’s hard not to make the comparisons to Dilla’s past beat tapes when listening to Babu’s production but numerous name-drops and Rakaa samples continually remind the listener that a Beat Junkie is manning the ship. (Nature Sounds)