May 29, 2013

Max Bell’s destiny is reaching the keys. 

Has-Lo’s debut LP In Case I Don’t Make It (below the jump) was one of the best albums of 2011. It’s a throwback that doesn’t feel derivative, overly nostalgic, or overly reverential.

It’s something for modern hip-hop listeners and Philadelphians who’ve studied It Was Written and have entered the 36 chambers more times than they can remember. Not so coincidentally, Has-Lo is also one third of the rhyming trio that came together for the Wu-Tang Pulp project (see also here or here).

Yesterday Has released the visual for “Hindsight” off of his LP Conversation B (below the jump), a collection of remixes of the tracks from In Case I Don’t Make It.  

The title is a taken from a line the original track, “Limit,” a short and claustrophobic banger with Raekwon references about the lengths “sheist peeps” will go to take you under that makes me feel like I’m trapped in a subway car with a bad batch in my system and the dealer who sold it to me. It’s worth a listen if you haven’t checked already, though it might make you a little manic.

The lyrics remain the same, but “Hindsight” is a prime example of what a remix should be. It’s a sonic re-imagining of original by the producer, the surfacing of new colors and the obscuring of old ones by someone who heard something else in the lyrics. In other words Apollo Brown, resident Mello Music producer, delivers.

“Hindsight” is entirely more soulful than “Limit,” and better for it. The heavy sampling/looping of Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man” (off a soundtrack of the same name that might be my favorite Marvin project of all time) and the crackling of the record are a testament to the fact that the combination of the right sample and hard drums is a timelessly potent formula. And the much softer, more mellow tone of the record enables you to fully appreciate Has’s lyrics, lyrics that now feel more solemnly reflective and even more poignant, like less of a rant.

The video is a playful homage to the Wu and indulgence of what I’m sure is Has’s sincere love of all things kung-fu. In black and white, Has dons Chinese masks hung on the wall of some basement dojo like he’s in The Five Deadly Venoms and spits the bars holding a lightbulb like its a mic. It’s good, and it’s exactly what you’d expect from the guy responsible for “Awkward Slang.”

The words may be great on the page, but sometimes it’s all about the packaging. You have pull down the different colored masks on the wall until you find one that fits. Or maybe that’s just hindsight.

Listen/Download:

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