Although the producer has become a very important ingredient in today’s hip hop stew, the whole “DJ/Producer record” concept is not a new one. Assembling a roster of talented MC’s to rap over your beats has been done since Marley Marl’s In Control series helped launched the Symphony into the Posse-Cut Pantheon, and through the years it’s been done by fader & knob manipulating luminaries such as Pete Rock, Jazzy Jeff, Prince Paul, Muggs, and countless others. Nowadays, with the advent of computer-based production and web-based music delivery, you can download an endless array of these albums in any possible combination of hip hop sub-genres and styles from around the world.
But to this day I remain excited by the one-stop-shop of awesomeness a good DJ/Producer album can offer, especially the good ones, and DJ Comsm’s newly-released Time And Space is indeed a very good one. Cosm is half of the Calgary-based, and hill-approved, duo Dragon-Fli Empire (MC Teekay being the group’s other .5), and this Urbnet release marks his solo debut. Of course he isn’t alone though, as he has recruited a roster of MC’s, from both sides of the 49th I might add, that might not all be household names, but are all really good. The guys I was familiar with, like Teekay, Moka Only, Odario Williams (of Grand Analog), Touch, Ghettosocks (fact: 9 times out of 10, if you put the Grand Wizard of Halifax Hip Hop on your record, you get a thumbs up from the hill) and legends like Craig G & Prince Po certainly don’t disappoint. But guys I wasn’t familiar with beforehand, like Rasul Syed, KLH Ali, Kazmega and, especially Insight also do great work.
Cosm’s production also plays a starring role, as it is fresh and interesting throughout the album. He doesn’t rely on familiar samples, although the slowed Lyn Collins’ Think drums on Day That’s New are pretty awesome, but he has a style that’s based on the tried & true methods of the early 90’s. Most of the beats are kind of Jazzy, laid-back affairs, like the ones on Woke Up, Connected, or Relax, but Cosm shows the ability to mix it up, with a peppy affair like catchy, soul sounds of Set It Out, or the left-field ominousness of Cosm Mega with its metallic, crashing drums.
Here’s a simple closer: go get Time And Space. It’s a heaping helping of quality, feel-good hip hop, and what’s better than that?