APOLLO BROWN & O.C.
Mellow Music Group/FatBeats
APOLLO BROWN has created multiple soundscapes over the span of the last few years. In 2010, he skewed the playing field with the impeccable Gas Mask; under the name, THE LEFT, with rapper and fellow Detroit native, JOURNALIST 103. He followed that quickly with a HASSAN MACKEY collabo, Daily Bread. The thing was that they made the LP in a 24 hour period. APOLLO BROWN has also released his comp, The Reset. On all of these he has cultivated amazing music from dusty soul and RnB relics; contorting the breaks and bridges into new songs entirely. If you think you don’t like ‘rap’; you would still enjoy the songs that APOLLO BROWN creates.
So, when AB announced that he would do a full LP with Bronx vet MC, O.C.; I hit the roof. O.C., part f the DITC crew, has 2 classic albums under his belt, Jewelz and Word…Life. OC has consistently dropped bomb albums and appeared on a countless verses supporting many underground’s top notch rhymers. So, what does Trophies hold for the listener? The peak of each contributor.
APOLLO does reach out beyond just dirty, gritty soul. Trophies holds some high note harmonies, 70’s silky symphonies, and even some electronic bits and pieces. We still get a myriad of soul infused boom bap beats. But this is a lower key endeavor. O.C. doesn’t come with an aggressive flow; so the laid back vibe of each complements each other. And this is APOLLO’s talent, his ability to ply his ear towards the strengths of the MC with whom he is working. His other talent is mincing up beats and chords and plucks that you half recognize from a golden era producer and pair with an unheard sound and creating a whole new song.
O.C. definitely comes with his best notebook excerpts. No guests either; this is O.C.’s spotlight. He has to own this; rise or fall. And boy does he rise. This is not an album for soundscan or for a trophy (hence the title). This is for hip hop heads that want to Doc Brown back to the early 90’s when beats and rhymes were embedded throughout a full lp.
“The Pursuit” opens the LP with everything I picked this up for. Off beat piano and a deep funky bass off set with a beat and a “hmm mmm” gracing my ears with a smokey feel. We hear O.C. using his humble approach to decorate his bars with decorative descriptions.
A song like “Nautica” is more of the reason that my excitement is perpetual through each tune. APOLLO delivers an ill track with a deep low tone piano balanced with eerie violin strings. O.C. spits colorful verbal gifts to make you think and elicits the attitude stated in the chorus, “If I reach a few who love it, my job is done”.
“We the People” has the same two factors of piano and strings but arranged in a manner to elicit a nostalgic, pensive mind state. O.C. vividly describes ghetto tales and the true victims of the streets as he peruses hood tales gone past. More importantly, he attempts to extract lessons from these stories and vows to stand by his community.
“The First 48” is chopped from the intro of CREAM’s “White Room”; rather unrecognizable. O.C. takes the “White Room” to be the interrogation room of the Police station. Brilliant.
“People’s Champ” has what I expect from APOLLO BROWN, a big chunky anthem Hammond B3 riff with M.O.P. quotes for the hook, this is the shit that hits. Your head will have no choice but to ciomply with a grin and a bob.
Every track puts a smile on my face. Nothing is repetitive or played out. If you love real hip hop, this is one to cop.
APOLLO BROWN FB