Felt 3: a tribute to Rosie Perez (Rhymesayers) is an album I’ve been anticipating for awhile. There are so many ways to say this, and maybe you, the reader, have read a number of different opinions. The following is mine.
In a bold way, I’d like to say that this is the kind of kick in the ass that hip-hop needs right now. Hip-hop is not helpless, but at times its equilibrium is off. Is that due to age, due to “the game”, the lack of something, or an overabundance?
Let’s cut the crap and talk about the music. Slug and MURS work incredibly well as a duo because they work… together. They both have individual strengths and weaknesses, just like any other twosome, but what makes them work is the fact that they are working, once again, together. It’s a musical relay race, and they’re doing it for the team. That team for this album includes <a href="http://www.myspace.com/aesoprockwins"Aesop Rock as producer, and it’s not just two MC’s and some guy with a love for funky beats and obscure raers, he becomes an element of Felt that is necessary in this equation. This holy triad have created an album where the swagger is immediately felt (aaaah), they each share an attitude that at times can be cocky, but they touch on that thin line between cockiness and confidence. No surprise, they’re both.
Slug and MURS know how to rock the mic, and I like how they each bring a level of talent that on one hand shows the power of the bravado and ego that hip-hop tends to provide. On the other hand, that bravado comes from presenting their talent in a way that is relentless, you can’t approach a microphone with fear and go “uh… bubba duh”? This is not uh bubba duh-hop.
The feel of this album is… maybe flawless is not the word, or maybe I’m getting it mixed up with seamless. I bring these two words up, flawless and seamless, because the vibe of this album goes back to when hip-hop albums meant everything. The seamless feel comes from everything being cohesive. In the hands of others, trying to impress someone with a 21-song album is a huge risk but they keep the boat afloat by mixing short songs with album-length tracks, where the short songs do not feel like interludes but merely stitches of a jacket that is the perfect fit for you. It feels tailor made to your tastes, at least to mine, and I’ll be selfish in saying that this is the kind of album I’ve been wanting to do for years. To hear it done so well makes me want to say “job well done”, and hell, I just did.
What also impressed me is the fact that sonically, it does not sound forced. That is due to Joey Raia who handled mixing duties and Chris Gehringer who did the final master. This album is not brickwalled, it has a nice, rich, full sound that gives it a roominess that I enjoy. The music is allowed to breathe and nothing is forced, when your emphasis is on Aesop Rock’s instrumentals you hear it clearly. When you hear Slug or MURS take up mic duties, you hear them and it’s not a muddy mess. All artists, regardless of genre, should listen to this so they’ll know how their own music should sound like. Job well done.
Felt 3: a tribute to Rosie Perez is one of the best albums to come out this year, because it brings back for a moment a time when all hip-hop was this good, but more importantly it is a example of what hip-hop still is in 2009. To paraphrase what Lilo said in Lilo & Stitch, you don’t leave anyone behind even as you grasp microphone supremacy. This is about unity, watch who you’re calling “bitch”.