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Earlier this year, Planet Asia teamed up with Killer Ben and Tri-State to form the Durag Dynasty, for a collaborative album produced entirely by Alchemist called 360 Waves. The end result was a fun, solid LP, but one that only paved the way for Al’s stellar collaboration with Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Albert Einstein (which in all fairness, pretty much blew a lot of this year’s big releases out of the water.) Fast-forward to right now, Planet Asia follows-up with an equally solid LP with producers DirtyDiggs, on High End Cloths.

While billed as a Planet Asia record, the album is littered with guests, many from the Durag Dynasty crew / Gold Chain Music extended family, making this a fitting, unofficial sequel to 360 Waves. The production from DirtyDiggs shows major influence from guys like Alchemist and Madlib, and that’s not a bad thing. You can’t help but sink into tracks like “Open Ocean” and “Diamonds, Dollars, and Gold”, as the production team presents lush, laid back, soulful grooves; something that’s missing from today’s brand of commercialized hip-hop. This continues throughout the length of the LP, as Asia laments on “Gold Chain Cocaine”, “this is strictly for my motherfuckin’ crate diggers.”

It’s easy to imagine Ghostface spitting on these tracks, as it’s clear that Asia and company draw influence from the Wu’s most seasoned wordsmiths. The production is tight, however it’s evident that it was done on lower budget equipment, and begs for bit of a bigger sound. The only real downfall here is that while Asia leads the crew, he is at times drowned out by his peers, whom appear in great numbers. Only getting three solo cuts of the project’s eleven tracks, the rest is shared with each Killer Ben, Killa Kali, Turbin, Rogue Venom, not to mention special guest appearances from Bay Area vets Mac Mall & B-Legit.

High End Cloths is an LP of ultra descriptive, rich luxury rap in the vein of Rick Ross or late 90′s era Nas Escobar, yet presented with more of an underground edge. While it’s not the Planet Asia solo record we might have been looking for, it’s a solid release and fitting follow-up to 360 Waves.

  Mixtape D.L.
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