Chris Daly has never had a manic Monday.
One of hip-hop’s innumerable strengths is its fluidity. From gangstas to backpackers, there’s a branch for virtually every rhyme lover to comfortably climb. Of all the various sub-genres and different styles, most of those in the know would readily agree that it’s the beat constellation that displays the most wide open parameters, cramming everything from house and acid to the various and sundry sounds emanating from the Low End Theory on any given Wednesday night into Thursday morning.
Of the leading personas in the fluid beat world, the sounds of Michigan’s Shigeto are becoming increasingly known for their constant evolution. His partnered Dilla beat tapes sound nothing like his first album, Full Circle, which bears only the faintest resemblance to No Better Time Than Now. The young Zachary Saginaw is clearly not one who allows himself to grow complacent, as he more than demonstrates on his latest Ghostly International release, The New Monday.
Shigeto is at his best when playing Dr. Frankenstein, slicing and dicing seemingly disparate styles into bangers of his own devising. I am firmly of the belief that his skills are routed in his training as a percussionist, grounding him in a groove few of his so-called peers are able to replicate. As with the earlier nu-R&B drenched tracks “R Life” and “What U Really Needed,” the genre mashing songs here are the ones that are worth the price of admission on their own. In this instance, combining beat sensibilities with jazz elements, Shigeto bookends the album with the strongest tracks, “Detroit II” and “When We Low.” Maybe it’s my overt fondness for the sax-a-ma-phone, but both tracks seem as ready made for Blue Note as they do Ghostly.
The beat smith picks his collaborators well here, too. ZelooperZ brings the heat with his verses on both “Barry White” and “A2D,” two tracks all the more impressive for their constant flipping of the beat, reminiscent of MF Doom’s “Tick, Tick…” Silas Green also shows up on the latter track, as well as on the driving “Don’t Trip,” adding a drugged out soulfulness that is vibe apropos. Shigeto has found like-minded artists who ably stay as eclectic and eccentric as himself.
Proving it’s not just an all-boys affair, Kaleena Zanders shows up on the club ready “There’s a Vibe Tonight.” Saginaw clearly wants some perfection and ass shaking on The New Monday, and I, for one, welcome the beat overlord’s decision to move things towards the dance floor.
While calling any artist’s album his or her best is a purely subjective exercise, I would argue it’s safe to say The New Monday clearly is one of, if not the, most accessible album by the Ann Arbor native. As I find it hard to believe that Shigeto will opt for stagnancy and repetition anytime soon, if The New Monday is any indication of where his evolution is headed, I can’t wait to hear what the rest of the week is going to bring.