“This is probably the most challenging record that you have ever put on your turntable” claims tracks on this colorful first offering from instrumentalist, Sharkey. So, is he the next white DJ/super-producer after DJ Shadow and RJD2 to shake the game up? Well, the simple answer is… no. This record is certainly mixes genres up more than your average release, but whilst Sharkey pulls off some dope tracks, too often the results are merely adequate rather than innovative or amazing.
Arguably the best song on the disc, his collaboration with labelmate Jean Grae on “Summer In The City” lets her run riot over a shuffling beat and horn loop, whilst female bhangra vocal snippets, cop sirens and helicopters add a great framework to NY going mad in the heat, “and lovin’ it”. Cherrywine (AKA Butterfly of the Digable Planets) adds his charisma to the funky guitars and falsetto chorus of “Phone Sex”. Similar but with a more amped-up urban dance rock twist is “Melt Down”, which shows that Sharkey has powerful poppy hooks in his arsenal. Indie fan favorites Cannibal Ox also show up on “Fuzz”, where Sharkey imitates a toned down, simplified El-P, but sadly Vast & Vordul sound unconvincing here, Vast in particular spitting some truly embarassing lines. “Snobird” flips some lovely bossanova, but The Pharcyde sound uncomfortably out of place and consequently the track fails to work.
The rest is split between some imaginative but short RJD2-style instrumentals, pleasant but boring Zero 7 -style chillout, and Everlast/Beck-style urban blues. None of it is bad, but the tracks are more often irritating than interesting, and Sharkey tends to flip tired samples from time to time. Sharkey has potential, but unless you’re after basic urban pop over truly great hip-hop, he has a ways to go before he can live up to the claims he and his PR people are making.
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