For whatever reason, I was pretty sure I had Montreal’s Socalled figured out. All I heard when he was discussed was terms like “Klezmer-rap” which sounded like another label for “gimmick-rap”, and seeing as I still have plenty of the “15 year old, serious as a heart attack about hip hop kid” in me, I have less time for gimmick rap than I do for terrible radio rap.
But I don’t mind admitting when I may have been wrong, because listening to Socalled’s new album, Sleepover, I hear a bit of the Klezmer but not a whole lot of the gimmickry. Granted, saying that an album described as “somewhere between folktronica, electro-funk, neo-soul, and hip hop” that is in part anyway, hanging it’s hat on the fact that it features some 34 contributing musicians, is NOT gimmicky might be foolish, but I think it’s true. A couple quick listens to Sleepover reveal an adventurous album to be sure, but one that feels lovingly crafted, not only Socalled, but by all the artists involved.
I mean, the second song features vocal contributions from the legendary Roxanne Shante, which is not only awesome, but is also likely the move of someone who has a genuine affection for hip hop. The album also boasts appearances from NY underground vet C-Rayz Walz, rappin’ indie maestro Chilly Gonzales as well as trombone legend Fred Wesley, so there’s a funky cross-section of folks to be found on the album. That includes Montreal songstress Katie Moore, who is all over the album, including (I assume it’s her) on a solemn cover of the folk classic “Springhill Mine Disaster.”
Anyhoo, Sleepover is an interesting album, with a lot of great musical moments, that I think a lot of people might be into, so I thought I’d put it up on the hill in case there were some folks that weren’t up on Socalled yet (there is likely zero chance of this if you’re in Quebec it seems, but for everyone else). Oh, and if you’ve been clamoring to hear a Klezmer-booty-bass track, you can do so below. Enjoy.
Video:: Socalled Sleepover Trailer 1
Video:: Socalled Sleepover Trailer 2