Goodness me, the production on Moka Only’s new album Airport 6 is god-damn delightful. I mean there’s plenty to like about the prolific Vancouverite’s latest release (I’m not even going to attempt to count or figure out how many albums in he is), but that’s the thought I kept coming back to as Moka’s velvety beats accompanied me on my travels over the last couple days. This came as no surprise, as anyone familiar with Moka Only’s solo work knows he’s been a constant purveyor of delicious, maple-syrupy beats for years, but Airport 6 feels like he’s perfected his formula.
I mean really, if you’re looking for something to take you back sonically to the heyday of the Native tongues, with Q-Tip & co leading the charge into production rife with jazzy, scratchy drums and rippling with horns & strings, Airport 6 is completely for you. Because of that, it’s completely fitting, and awesome, that the solitary feature you’ll find across these twelve tracks is from Plug 2 (aka Dave or Trugoy) on the great Mr. Megahustle (which, also fittingly, sounds like it uses the sitar sample from Bonita Applebum). It’s not all Native Tongues influence here, as the lushness of Pete Rock’s sounds came to mind as the uptempo drums on Still Gotcha brought The Creator to mind.
But even if you’re a new jack who doesn’t know or care a whit about the Native Tongues or the Golden Age, I think this record is good enough to have you bobbin’ your head in appreciation before you’re even more than couple songs in. It’s evident right from the fantastic opener, Sleeping Dogs, that Moka was in a contemplative mood when he was making these songs, often referencing the ups and downs of his chosen profession and shouting out his former hip hop comrades who are no longer in the game. But thankfully, he seems resolute when he claims that he’ll continue to make music, so go ahead and cop Airport 6 to let him know we all appreciate it.