Paul White is a South London based hip-hop producer who easily could have been cast aside in a world full of press releases that abuse the phrase "post-Dilla." But rather than just pairing blunted beats and cracking, off-kilter snares, he's steadily amassed a growing fan base by injecting a psychedelic, disjointed and quite often humourous take on the genre. Previous work has seen him plundering prog and psych for his dense productions. Rapping with Paul White is him trying something completely different.
The album takes seven mostly unknown MCs and inserts them into White's strange dreams. The results are dazzling. There's calming, meditative moods on instrumental opener "Right On," and the poetic closer "Wily Walruses." Stark, ethereal and paranoid moments come from Jehst's "Indigo Glow" and the somewhat underwhelming lead single "Trust" featuring Guilty Simpson. There's also some pretty filthy stuff, said in ways we're not familiar with: Danny Brown's original flow on "One of Life's Pleasures" is an orgiastic feast of flesh, drugs and arrogance over a beat that goes from classic American Rock to mad-minute video game music.
Similarly, Moe Pope's wonderfully titled "Stampeding Elephants" sees White taking on a boisterous Afrobeat motif while Pope compares standing out in a crowded rap market to the hierarchy of the jungle. Homeboy Sandman takes on the idiosyncrasies of British culture from the perspective of an outsider American. The album's strongest moment comes from Tranqill, who, over a pitched-up power rock ballad and the most exciting use of a sustained feeding-back guitar chord since Ghostface Killah's "We Celebrate," absolutely dominates the mic, menacing sub-standard MCs with such conviction it sounds like he might jump out of the speakers and have a stern word for you too.
Similar to Madlib's WLIB effort for BBE's Beat Generation series, this album assembles a motley crew of unique and individual MCs and somehow makes them seem like a unit under the direction of White. Producer LPs often stumble due to a lack of cohesiveness, which more often that not comes from the anti-chemistry of swapping beats and vocals online. With a number of "did he just say that?" moments and more than a few quotables, Rapping with Paul White combines a series of moods and ideas and ties them together with quirky skits and a varied palate of samples, all with the charm we've grown to expect from White.
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Tracklist: Paul White - Rapping With Paul White 01. Intro: We Make A Lot Of Noise
02. Right On
03. Trust feat. Guilty Simpson
04. Run Shit feat. Marv Won
05. One Of Life's Pleasures feat. Danny Brown
06. The Doldrums
07. Life Is Flashing Interlude
08. Stampeding Elephants feat. Moe Pope
09. Rotten Apples feat. Tranqill
10. Thirty Days
11. A Weird Day feat. Homeboy Sandman
12. African New Wave
13. Indigo Glow feat. Jehst
14. Dirty Slang feat. Guilty Simpson
15. A New Way
16. Evasive Action
17. Wily Walruses feat. Nancy Elizabeth
18. Outro: We'll Never End