CD Sonic Smash (CD 4666769),
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1. Intro - (featuring Brother Alphonso Greer)
2. Elemental - (featuring Sputnik Brown)
3. Lyrics Is Back - (featuring Tarey Torae)
4. Lights Out! - (featuring John Robinson)
5. New York (Duck for Cover)
6. Call Me Seor - (featuring Senor KAOS)
7. Get on Down - (featuring Homeboy Sandman/Fresh Daily/P-Casso)
8. Making Your Way in the World - (featuring Breezly Brewin/J-Treds)
9. Guaranteed - (featuring Phonte/YahZarah)
10. More - (featuring Dynas)
11. More Colors - (featuring eLZhi)
12. Melody - (featuring Erik Rico/Shabaam Sahdeeq)
13. Still Golden - (featuring Tiye Phoenix)
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 8
DJ Spinna; John Brewer
Audio Mixers: DJ Spinna; Jose "Choco" Reynoso; Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez; Dave Dar.
Recording information: Ampliphonic Studios, Queens, NY; Chopp Shopp Studios, Durham, NC; Hi Top Studios, Ft Lauderdale, FL; Howard's House Of Hits; John Brewer Studios, Overland Park, KC; Thingamajig Lab, Brooklyn, NY.
Photographer: Delphine Fawundu.
Arranger: DJ Spinna.
"Always reliable but unpredictable...One of the most efficient architects of sound," is how Joc Max heralds renowned producer DJ Spinna on the intro to his album Sonic Smash. A mainstay of the East Coast underground since the mid-'90s, DJ Spinna gained a reputation as one of New York's elite (though often overlooked) beatmakers. One half of the Jigmastas and leader of the now-defunct Beyond Real label, Spinna imprinted his signature production style -- characterized by his knack for creating a soulful, space-age sound out of dusty samples from the likes of Roy Ayers and John Coltrane -- on many of the hottest underground 12" releases of the past 15 years. Spinna's Sonic Smash is everything that the hip-hop producer vehicle should be -- namely, a showcase for the man's unique style of beatmaking with guest vocalists whose contributions are fitted to the production behind them (and not the other way around). Spinna brings back a slew of mid-'90s indie rap favorites (Juggaknots, Shabaam Sahdeeq, J-Treds, Lil Sci aka John Robinson) and former Beyond Real collaborators (Dynas and Jigmastas partner MC Kriminul) while also recruiting newer underground stars (Phonte of Little Brother, Torae, Sputnik Brown). The end result is a collection of finely crafted and unmistakably Spinna beats backing up a capable group of brainy, b-boy-centric lyricists. There are nostalgic calls for cultural appreciation ("Elemental," "Lyrics Is Back"), socially conscious tracks ("More," "More Colors"), a love letter to the Big Apple ("New York [Duck for Cover]"), and a handful of quirkier outings. Breezely Brewin and J-Treds borrow some lines from the Cheers theme song on the sitar-driven "Making Your Way in the World," while female MC Tiye Phoenix examines African-American history from a revisionist's point of view -- claiming that Abraham Lincoln and first president of congress John Hanson were of African heritage -- on the intriguing "Still Golden." Spinna wraps thing up with a jazzy, neo-soul homage to J Dilla that borrows from a handful of different tracks by the late great producer. Virtually every song is a gem -- with both headnodding and thought-provoking merits -- and Sonic Smash ranks alongside Pete Rock's Soul Survivor, Hi-Tek's Hi-Teknology 2 and DJ Muggs' Soul Assassins LPs as a prime example of what hip-hop producers' "solo" albums should ideally sound like. ~ Matt Rinaldi
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