Rhome's 2005 CD Picks
I buy a lot of music. Sometimes there's so much of it crowding my shelves that I don't get around to listening to new things for months. But these two purchases managed to stay in constant rotation even when other anticipated CDs collected dust on their shrink-wrap.
Favorite Local Record of the Year: Priest da Nomad - "Mr. Moov Sumthin'"
A common and stereotypical analysis ascribes substance to the hip-hop underground and style to the commercial realm. Plainly spoken, the indie kids will give you some food for thought but they won't get the party crunk like the mainstream rap superstars. Priest's "Mr. Moov Sumthin'" smacks down this sort of categorization. Priest has made audiences shed tears at shows with "A Prayer for Lena", a song about seeking divine assistance to guide the parenting of his infant daughter. He elicits knowing chuckles with "Wrong Side of The Bed," a litany of frustrations that could have been the theme for Michael Douglas in the film "Falling Down." The well-developed themes and witty word craft are spread over beats thick enough to rattle the trunk of the most devoted connoisseur of the boom. He's even gotten some run on WPGC-FM with "The Carryout", a club-banger on which Priest teams with Raheem Devaughn and W. Ellington Felton to extol the virtues of mackin' on a budget. This is the most complete record to come out of the D.C. hip-hop scene
Favorite Non-local Record of the Year: The Rebirth - "This Journey In"
This album almost surgically grafted my iPod to my dome. The lead single in this collection of slick, organic, jazz-influenced soul had been buzzing on the international tastemaker radar over the last couple of years, being extolled by Gilles Peterson, Garth Trinidad and the like. The band was touring internationally off the strength of that one song before even dropping the second single. Then 2005 brought "This Journey In," an album for people who love singing at the top of their lungs while carving out a healthy chunk of the dancefloor for themselves. The Rebirth has got all the elements of a classic soul band whose music is kinetic rather than cerebral: tightly locked rhythm guitar, syncopated funk bass, Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer interplay, breakdowns, changes and killer hooks. Roy Ayers could fit right in on vibes as his influence weaves throughout the album's eleven tracks. This was my Christmas gift for folks who weren't aware that grown-up yet fun soul music was still alive in 2005.
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