Us Natives’ Ill Clinton has completed work on his new album, which he is calling Ragnarok
. The title has been described as this:
In Norse mythology, Ragnarok is a series of future events, including a great battle foretold to ultimately result in the death of a number of major figures, the occurrence of various natural disasters, and the subsequent submersion of the world in water. Afterward, the world will resurface anew and fertile, the surviving and returning gods will meet, and the world will be repopulated.
Ill Clinton has created a video for one of the songs, entitled “Yggdrasil”, and there will definitely be more in store come August 6th. On top of that, he’s releasing the album on cassette through I Had An Accident Records, so if you’re rocking a home deck or a nice portable boom box, you’ll be able to pop a tape in there and turn it up loudly. The cassette will go for $6, only 49 copies are being made. They can be ordered directly from the Bandcamp page below (or this link if the player is not present.)
If you are “once shy”, you have to break out of that shell to make things happen in your life. For Us Natives, it is displayed in video form how it is to be “Twice Written”. In truth, it’s some cool night time shots that help to create a nice feel for the music itself. The song is from their Used Vinyl Review II
album, which you may check out below via Bandcamp (or click here
if the player is unavailable. It happens.)
New music from Us Natives? Indeed it is, and this one is called Used Vinyl Review II, with production assistance from Haj/Raj of Dumhi, Meks Uno and Just Plain Ant. John E. Cab mixed and mastered this one for Us Natives, and at 12 tracks, there’s no shortage on finding something here, from Philadelphia to you. (The first installment of Used Vinyl Review was my Bandcamp Suggestion on April 29th of this year.)
When it comes to instrumental hip-hop albums, I very much want to hear the production, but I think I go out of my way to find out if it’s more than just beats, mere backing material. I want to know if the songs a producer creates is worthy, but if they are songs that can stand out on their own, I give a thumbs up. Ill Clinton’s The Prophecy EP gets two thumbs up.
What I hear in these songs are someone who knows how to construct, and that should be a standard for all producers. There are those who also create tracks that can fall into that trip-hop category, and that “>”/more than factor is what makes me want to listen to it. Cool beat selection, chopping techniques, effects and sound tweaks, and unique samples are what makes The Prophecy great. It’s not so much “unique” as they are sounds that you still don’t hear in the big vast world of hip-hop, but then again this could be considered more than hip-hop, or at least artists outside of hip-hop could benefit from working with Ill Clinton on future projects. I think this has lasting power, and if there are further EP’s on the way from this Us Natives beatmaster, bring it on immediately.
People who know me or follow this website will know my love of vinyl and records, and may assume “oh, this album is called Used Vinyl Review so he wants to cater to his fetish. To be honest, no, that’s not what it was. The album could have been called Used Band-Aid Residue and it still would have been up here. I want to encourage people to listen to my suggestions, especially if it was suggested/recommend by someone else, or I’ll do searches and come across something I think people would like. I review a wealth of music, but having it become a part of Bandcamp Suggestions is merely shining a brighter spotlight . By the time Us Natives got in concert with me to ask if I would be interested in listening and perhaps doing a review, I had to tell them “you will be a part of my Bandcamp Suggestions column.”
Us Natives come from Philadelphia where the hip-hop scene is vibrant and strong, and this production duo consisting of Ill Clinton & John E Cab sound like they could not only dominate the Philadelphia scene, but also work with everyone else in the U.S., North America, and the entire world. They merge their use of real instrumentation with “borrowed sounds” (i.e. sampling), so while you may recognize the funk of a familiar break in “Flashback”, you hear the potential when you hear how they blend and coordinate sounds, especially with the string and horn samples (sounds like it was taken from a soundtrack album I should know).
Outside of the hip-hop context, Us Natives would work well in creating some pretty moving audio soundscapes to where they could be ranked alongside The Avalanches, DJ Krush, Cut Chemist, and Jazzanova if they wanted that. Used Vinyl Review is a “prequel” to a full length album due out later this year, and while I could suggest how I’d like to hear it, I await to see and hear what they can do, for I am putting my faith and trust in them after hearing this.