To start off with a personal belief, it’s almost impossible to keep your ears in one genre of music. It’s difficult imagine someone’s mind who is stubborn to just metal, just jazz, just electronica, and so on and so forth. There’s so many good grooves out there to bounce yourself along with.
Hip Hop group New Life vibes into your ear drums with swinging beats and catchy hooks. I’ve had the chorus of “Crackin’ Up” running through my head since I woke up this morning. Supporting the music to a new level of A New Beginning is the production work. When I had attended the Institute of Production and Recording, I was fellow classmates with MonopoleJoe/Sayjak and Signature (two of the dudes in New Life). These guys were of the few who were utilizing the studios beyond the required hours for class. It’s pretty obvious that the time spent crafting their work is paying off.
A New Beginning opens up with some sampled stutters breathing into the beat of “You Can Do It Well”. This track (as well as a few others) presents reminiscent elements of old school hip hop where a main beat will show you the way of the track while taking minor breaks for a drop here and there. Something about the track also has almost an elegant feel. By that I mean if I were at a masquerade ball, I might ask the DJ to throw on “You Can Do It Well”.
Sci-fi droplets picking over as the bass line slowly approaches through a volume swell welcoming you into “Clock In”. As soon as the beat drops, I find myself resisting a good air drumming session. I apologize for not being too well versed with the individual voices of New Life, but the first verse rocks solid phrasing through the flow. Tons of personality through this track. Mentioning the phrasing again, the chorus has unique carry of words, “Put in the work/all the sweat and the hurt“. You would think referencing music to work would come off as someone complaining but this is the opposite. Those who create music and do their own production, know how much work goes into presenting your tracks exactly how you intend. “Clock In” bounces as a celebration in said work. Personally, makes me want to fire up ProTools.
“On the 13”. I honestly don’t how to put it into words without coming off pushy, but if there is one song in this collection that you NEED to check out, this is it. If this song doesn’t cradle your disgruntled attitude towards hip hop into some sort of affection, your on your own. The download of A New Beginning landed in my media player on January 1st (the release date) and this track has already made itself into my Top 25 Most Played. The kick emphasizes the inevitable head bobbing while ambient keys create a triumphant and almost emotional surrounding. For those of us who have grown up on rock music might know about the Spinal Tap joke about amps on 11. The chorus of “On the 13” completely dismisses eleven and twelve and proclaims the untouchable level of 13. I also get the feeling that this song welcomes 2013 with hands in the air and slow motion dancing while crushing any thoughts of 13 being an unlucky number.
“Hell Yeah (Makin’ moves)” is as if you’re about to observe a serious match of Mortal Kombat. The bass line bumps along in almost a stomp promoted by the shamisen riff. With an vibe of world music, it’s pretty awesome to have a simple beat rocking the rhythm along. A unique blend that is done infrequently but when done properly, how could you complain?
“You want all the money and not a portion?” Sounds like a concept to a mainstream rap song yeah? You won’t find any bragging of dollar count here. “Crackin’ Up” is a fresh contrary to the main bulk of rap music. Within one of the verses, the lyrics even express not wanting to be a prick. This track has a humble undertone of a mindset that just loves music, not the fame. Again, a nice opposition to your typical rap song. The same sort of reminiscence of old school hip hop stated earlier rings through “Crackin’ Up” this track blooms into a cloud rap-esque chorus getting that hook glued into your conscious. “Fame, it’s not what it’s cracked up to be be be…”
“Finding Gold” steps in with a classy emotion. There’s a tension that holds between each piano cord and it’s following riff. It’s a not so distant detour from the rest of the tracks showing some versatility. The lyrics take a solemn side step. I almost imagine each MC sitting down next to a kid whose growing up, reminding them that things may be messed up but there’s gold somewhere. Gold maybe as a metaphor for the things in life worth while.
“Avengers” is a reminder of what encompasses New Life. As each verse passes through MC to MC, I realize that none of the segues between each person contains any chop or stutter. Clean microphone passing keeping the flow of lyrics just as solid as the flow between each member of the crew. Between the beat and the main progression, theres a sub melody that can be noticed as almost a signature piece to New Life tracks. The sub melody fills out the background nodding to the beat, but in a joining bounce. On a side note, I understand folks are back into Pokemon. There’s a nod to catching them all for all you culty people. Dig it.
The EP comes to a solid closing with what is noted as a Bonus track, “Had to Run” . Right off the first verse, there are some clever lyrics that gave me a few chuckles. “I’m spittin’ on em cause I can count to potato…” I’m rockin that right, right? As the chorus pans back an forth between your ears and brain, there is actually a sense of running and dipping. Also noted, this song only features Signature, Reidy, and MonopoleJoe. All of the guys in New Life present unique pieces to the group but it is nice to hear these three dudes with more time allowed to speak their piece.
Their Facebook page (click here) states that the dudes behind the project are
“MonoPoleJoe, Signature, Reidy, BDaMan, Bill$ and Burgdaddy. It also features production from their in-house producers, SayJak and Signature as well as production from Slomo.”
For a New Life intro into the music world, this is no basement mixtape. What these guys made is just the beginning, a new one at that. You can stream A New Beginning below or follow usual procedure for a free download (can’t beat free).