Ginsberg's Inkling


BY Thomas QuinlanPublished May 25, 2010

It's been four years since Ginsberg's Inkling (aka John Cleary) released his Buck 65-influenced The Halfpenny Marvel, and the time has been put to good use. Ummm... is fully self-produced, and the result is an album of atmospheric, melancholy production that's most often instrumental in nature and has many change-ups in the beat structure. Cleary tells stories through the use of samples, cuts and the music itself, as well as rapping, singing and even whispering. His samples are interesting, and cuts include things like crying babies and chanting monks, making for a distinct sound; Ginsberg's Inkling could probably put together a damn fine instrumental album. While the raps may take a back seat to the production this time around, with many songs only featuring one verse, a few short ones or none at all, Cleary's rap skills have clearly improved since Halfpenny Marvel. The spacey production works wonders for his raps, although Cleary proves he can also rock a boom-bap beat with the synth-heavy "The Kids Aren't Alright" or "Slim Pickin's." Ummm... is a more mature and confident record than his last, demonstrating an artist who might just have found his sound. If you're looking for intelligent hip-hop, this is it.

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