He’s been called the hardest working man in indy hip-hop – and for good reason. DJ Spinna competes with Jay-Z, releasing an average of three projects per year, coming in the form of either compilations that spotlight his production, or mix CD’s for any given label’s catalog. With Here To There, Spinna embarks on BBE’s Beat Generation concept, showing his versatility as producer over sixteen tracks.
Spinna’s got a few easy-wins on this one, as usual. He takes it back to hip-hop’s indy heyday (before it got saturated by below-average 12-inches from everyone and their moms) on “Hold” (feat. Apani B-Fly Emcee) and “Tune You Out”, where up-&-comer Rise proves to be one of the most impressive indy emcees in a minute (Demigodz represent!). Also notable here is the hollow, bass-heavy excursion “Drive”, featuring Shadowman, but Spinna really catches wreck best on some of the instrumental tracks, such as “Galactic Soul” (just what it sounds like), and breaks new ground by implementing the live sounds of Soulive on the innovative “All Up In It”, as well as the new version of “Rock (Unplugged)”, with Tortured Soul .
However, while BBE’s Beat Generation series is intended to let the artist roam free and do as they please, Here To There is almost too eclectic. What begins as a hip-hop album, strays in different directions, sometimes veering off course. Neo-Soul selections such as Vinia Mojica’s “Idols” and Ovasoul7′s “Surely” are decent, but we’ve heard better types of collabos between Spinna and numerous vocalists. Meanwhile, other curve balls include the spoken word piece “Fly Or Burn” (feat. Bedouin Ascent ), the house joint “Music In Me” (feat. Shaun Escoffery), or the afro-beat tribute, “The Originator”. Still, like it’s diversity or not, you can’t deny Spinna’s natural born funkiness found on “Love Is Sold” (feat. Abdul Shyllon) or “Glad Your Mine” (feat. Angela Johnson).
What can be said though, is like The Neptunes, Spinna easily takes all of the sounds – R&B, House, Soul, Spoken Word – and makes it hip-hop. Spinna’s trademark sound remains constant throughout, without getting monotonous, as he is one of the best producers that hip-hop – scratch that – music – has today. While this dish might be better digested bite-by-bite, rather than a full-meal, next time it might be better accepted if the flavor was more clearly defined.
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