Jonah Bromwich’s driver’s license still reps the DMV too.
Oddisee had a great year last year but there’s another DMV producer with a similar analogue, dusty boom-bap sound that gets perennially slept on. Kev Brown has been making great beats for a long, long time and has never gotten the recognition he deserves. This track off of Sean Born’s excellent 2012 album, Behind the Scale makes for an excellent example of what Brown does so well. It’s warm, crackling loop is pitch perfect for dead-eyed winter days and it’s being given away as a freebie on Mello Music Group’s bandcamp page. I recommend grabbing the album as well, but if you’re short on funds, this is a loosie to get familiar with in a hurry.
Brown also raps occasionally, and though he’s not a technical wunderkind by any means, he’s an intelligent, sensitive lyricist, who, predictably, knows how to find the pockets in his self-produced songs. This is all just an excuse to promote one of my favorite tracks of all time, the killer “Albany,” for my money, the best, most heartcrushing break-up song ever. The lyrics invoke a sense of lost possibility that’s absolutely devastating, and the sax on the refrain sounds like the last music you’ll hear before Charon rows you across the river. If you thought Nas’s “Bye Baby” was a doozy, this one will just crush you.