Greyboy/Various Shades of Grey

Even though his latest Mosaic release was a little hit-and-miss, Greyboy is still a key figure in the West coast hip-hop movement. Just like Z-Trip, Madlib and Nu-Mark, as well as numerous other crate-digging nerds, Greyboy loves nothing more than seeking out and mashing up rare funk and soul that gets a party turned outs in no time — and the more rare the better. Shades of Grey is surprisingly this cat’s first mix album, so the ho-hum presentation is a little disappointing, but considering that Greyboy has to live up to mind-blowing funk mixes by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist, you can’t really be too hard on the poor fellow. The majority of the joints on Shades of Grey, though poorly recorded, succeed in making you move and never fall short in delivering the raw soul, but the mix rides the same tip from start to finish and doesn’t throw in any curveballs and also contains very few turntable flares. Aside from the high standards when it comes to a Bay Area funk mix, Greyboy blends hot numbers such as "Hancock’s Hideaway” by the Messengers and the ultra-smooth "Wavering” by Roy Porter, with ease. Greyboy even mixes back-to-back doses of his own recent work and these new jams never feel out of place alongside the dusty classics. Shades of Grey is an enjoyable listen and the tracks within are solid, but when it comes to the art of a mix record, the stakes have risen so high now that Greyboy’s will probably slip through the cracks. (Ubiquity)