In a night of sauce-induced bliss, I think the best thing to write about is Warm Brew. [Editor’s note: I was drunk last night. This thing’s grammar was horrid. Thank God for sober edits!] Not their newest album, Ghetto Beach Boyz, which I haven’t gotten to yet, but an older album, The Ride. After loving half of Sipping All Day Last Night, and hating the rest, I knew I’d have to follow these cats’ careers. Much to my delight, things have improved a whole lot since that EP/album.
Where Sippin had a few tangents that didn’t produce any fruits, The Ride is much more focused on the West Coast chillout vibe that I loved. That sound is more refined this time around, mostly G-Funk but sometimes mixing in a Natives Tongues jazzy sound. The beats are a little more musical than before, more understated, and they feel a bit more soothing. For example, The Ride is so chill that its beat feels lazy, but I think it’s the same sample that made Outerspace’s Grand Groove 2, and is strongly needed to create the song’s so-fun vibe. Loungin’ mixes the West with Native Tongues as best as possible, with its hook featuring an indiscernible female vocal sample similar to Vinia Mojica on a Tribe song, and its beat that switches with ease for lyrical emphasis, and its carefree vibe expressed in both lyrics and music.
As usual, Warm Brew’s lyrics aren’t why you bought a ticket to the show. That’s not a knock against their music, but it must be noted. Manu Li’s rhymes stick out the most, for the wrong reasons, but I have a special sore spot for simple punchlines and abstract thoughts whose full meaning I can’t nail down. Anyway, none of the rappers ever ruins a song, and the skill required to maintain this vibe over the course of a whole album must be noted and appreciated. Like early Slum Village, Warm Brew seems to be more about creating a mood rather than proving themselves as individual emcees. In fact, the only “bad” song is This and That, which is an answer to those who criticize Warm Brew’s lyrics (God created irony for situations like this: your worst song is the one that explicitly answers your critics). It’s a random battle-verse song in the middle of a get high/drunk album, and it screams of their insecurity in simply doing what they are best at. I don’t need Warm Brew to prove they can rap! All they need to do is keep crafting these great songs. It sounds easy but I’m sure it isn’t, and that’s why this album deserves the score below.
Anyway, The Ride is extremely good. There’s a couple of mistakes that I didn’t point out, where maybe the beats were not as good as the others, and the few skits are pretty useless, but this is an excellent album. Anyone looking for some West Coast intoxication anthems should take heed.
- The Ride
- Man With The Horn
- Lightbulb Effect