Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Phil Ade "A Different World"

I finally get my ears wrapped around Phil Ade's "A Different World" mixtape (which is really a street album - there's no mix, no DJ) and I got this one saved as a keeper for the times I want to just chill. Honestly the production and the features are the highlights for me. If you like Drake you will probably love Phil Ade's "A Different World" album.
Laura Song's voice swooning the "Different World" sitcom theme song is a great introduction to the project and the piano is fly. I'm pretty sure the looped guitar lick in "You're The One" is a sample of Maceo & All The King's Men "Better Half" screwed down. It's a nice flip to the way I'm used to hearing it in Gang Starr's "Form of Intellect". "You're The One" is definitely a highlight from the project. Sunny Norway did a great job with the arrangement and production and Killa Kyleon is a real nice fit with the whole vibe.
"The Weekend" keeps the same flavor rolling with a laid back vibe. I really love the hook and the little "hey listen to the man" clip from James Brown's "Funky President" sliding in and out throughout the song is a real dope touch. "Second Chance" is not my kind of groove, but it's still kind of fly. I couldn't stop picturing Will Farrell with that damn cowbell from the famous Saturday Night Live skit. All the song is missing is the sample of Christopher Walken saying "more cowbell!".
"See You Again" really sounded like it was a track that slid off Kanye West's last album. The best thing about the song is the stick work/live drum feel. "Incense" has a real nice flow to it with the organ and bass. I wish Phil could have gotten Erykah Badu to slide in and blaze the hooks out. That would have been perfect as opposed to Mac Miller. Still a nice record as it is though.
Mark Henry's production on "Your Hands" is fantastic! I swear it's the best chop of a Floetry record that I've heard yet. Definitely another highlight from the album. "Coming Home" is nice, but forgettable. I had to stop myself from skipping it after the first minute (and the song is almost 6 minutes long). When I saw Bink! had produced "King" I was eager to hear the record. Bink! is a beast with the production and his resume is platinum status. Google him if you don't know. I have to admit though, as I was listening I kept wanting to tell Phil to just breathe already! It sounds like he was straining to spit this one when normally he's pretty smooth with his flow and delivery. That might explain why he only wrote half a song and just adlib'ed the last 2 minutes of the song; which was a total waste.
"Monty Carlo Dreams" has me now looking up Sunny Norway to check his production credits. Sunny blazed a dope and very unique beat for Phil and US Royalty to ride over. Sunny Norway produced 7 of the 16 tracks on "A Different World". Tracie Josephine really owns the "Cloud 9" track with her voice floating over the record. She's the biggest highlight of the song. "High on Life" is produced by 9th Wonder who deserves all the respect in the world for the body of work he has produced over the years BUT I'm burned out on the snare hit he uses so often. The dated sound of that snare hit distracted the hell out of me throughout the song, which is a shame because Raheem DeVaughn blazed the track out real nice. "Otherside" is dope, but I have to admit I couldn't stop humming the original song "Brotha" from Angie Stone. I'm surprised a lot more rappers/producers haven't ripped the same sample. While "Otherside" is a personal favorite, I think Mark Henry was really lazy with the production, which is really nothing more than a loop pitched up a little.
The title track "Different World" is probably Phil Ade's best lyrical assault on the album, but the production wasn't as strong. The drums sound really muffled in the mixdown. Bring the drums up and take the filter off and this might have been something I would dig, but as it is...I just want the acapella so I can flip it. I could always chop the original drum sample myself and just lay it in, but that's too much work for a song that is so-so. The final track is "Scoreboard" is nice and Phil Ade's comment "this shit's smooth" hits it right on the head.
Overall the album is a nice addition to those that I clean the house to or just chill, but not anything I would hear in a club or spin up on my radio shows or ride around bangin' out my trunk. If you want to just chill or blaze, this album is perfect for that.

Judge for yourself...

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