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19 July, 2005@12:00 am

    Initially recorded over 2 years ago, this collection of tracks by Ohio resident Dwight Farrell are a testament to his skills as a producer/emcee, as well as his determination to play the hip-hop game by his own rules, whatever the cost (hence the EP’s title). There are few cats realer or more dedicated to the craft; he views making music as a match between himself and God, and he paraphrases at one point, “jazz ain’t supposed to make nobody millions” – lest his use of sampling seem hypocritical, the EP is available for download at a nominal fee from his website. Supporting this approach to music has seen him go through hard times, actually leaving him homeless for a short while, and a portion of the music on offer here was only put together thanks to MF DOOM lending him a drum machine, which the Count then hooked up in his garage.

     That’s not to say that the beats here sound in any way low budget; rather, the Count’s finely honed sound trades in the same dusty jazz loop aesthetic as Madlib, albeit worked into grooves as deep, mellow and smooth as a D’Angelo record. The voice and piano of legends Nina Simone and Weldon Irvine duet across “Nina & Weldon”, an interview with bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorius raises a smile on “Gimme A Gig”, a player’s need to keep himself surrounded by women is criticised on “The Mingus Sextet” and on the two-part “Kumbuka Watu Penda Pesa” D ‘fesses up “I don’t love dough/I like it, though” and advises “make life not war/make wife, not whore.” Farrell even takes a break from his laid back but extremely confident rhyming style to sing a bit on the great “Down Easy”, a song only made more affecting by the fact that he’s not exactly Sam Cooke.

     If you can put up with the eccentricity of someone who packs 16 tracks into less than half an hour and sticks his intro 2/3rds of the way through the recording, only to follow it immediately with the outro, then this is a dope taste of a genuinely overlooked talent. The True Ohio Playas project with J.Rawls can’t be out soon enough.

  Mixtape D.L.
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