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by Andreas Hale
28 March, 2007@12:00 am
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    Most in the Hip Hop and R&B worlds haven’t a clue as to who 4hero is, but to those who are familiar with downtempo music scene, 4hero are….well….heroes. Dennis “Dego” McFarlane and Mark “Marc Mac” Clair are considered pioneers of the movement and have been frolicking about the UK with their signature sound. Sooner or later it was inevitable that the states would catch a whiff of what was cooking across the Atlantic.

    When the duo dropped Creating Patterns back in 2001, the downtempo/breakbeat jewel of an album featured the likes of Jill Scott and Ursula Rucker and was considered another feather in the cap of the prolific duo. Now with a lineup of collaborations which includes the likes of J*Davey, Jody Watley, Phonte and Darien Brockington, Ursula Rucker and others, 4hero looks to take their craft to the next level yet again with the aptly titled Play With The Changes.

    With Play With The Changes, 4Hero has released probably their most commercially acceptable album to date. It won’t go over the heads of listeners who just aren’t into the breakbeat and downtempo vibes, and also features a few recognizable names to both the Hip Hop and R&B communities. So what exactly do you get with this album? A stew of brooding neo soul and downtempo vibes coupled with some sultry vocals and lush instrumentals.

     Play With The Changes does well with what it creates. The juicy backdrops of “Take My Time” compliment the sexy lyrics of Jack Davey while Terry D does an amazing job of covering the spacey Stevie Wonder jam “Superwoman”. D Brock and Phonte hold down the swanky “Give In” as Darien gives a dose of his sweet syrup, while Phonte tames the ladies with some smooth lyrics. While some may say that the album equates to Coffee Shop music, this notion is not to be taken in a negative way. Whether Larry Mizell and Talita Long groove with the jazzy synths on the title track or Carina Anderson fuels the adrenaline rush of “Morning Child”, Play With The Changes is anything but your average souled out album.

    But don’t think that 4Hero has abandoned their signature sounds as it is still prevalent in joints such as the edgy Ursula Rucker poetry slam, “Awakening”. It’s just that 4Hero wanted to give you something different, something that will open the eyes and ears of the many who don’t know how gifted this duo is. Play With The Changes is the perfect album to make you wonder where these guys came from and why haven’t you heard of them before.

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