Who? And who? How about this then – The Pharcyde & Jurassic 5? Depending on your age, that may be just as perplexing a combination, but if you have heard of The Pharcyde and Jurassic 5, you’ll know that they both represent a fun, purer sense of what Hip Hop music can sound like. It’s a different sense of fun compared to what DJ Mustard would have you believe, but both names are synonymous with the classic sound of yesteryear. Despite enjoying The Pharcyde in the 90s and J5 in the 2000s, it’s been a fair while since either were active. Chali 2na has been representing for a while, but his solo work has strayed from the original sound these guys are known for. With Slimkid3 and DJ Nu-Mark, we have been given a collection of tracks that are musically richer than Jurassic 5’s minimalist, throwback sound that never outstays its welcome because it’s a meagre 27 minutes.
Slimkid3 isn’t the most jaw-dropping of emcees, but he harks back to the playful days of Hip Hop. A quick glance at the featured artists helps to highlight the level of quality we’re looking at here: J-Live, Del, Murs, Diamond D. Emcees with acclaimed discographies, emcees who produce and most importantly, emcees that have represented the culture for two (or three) decades without sounding bitter. This album from Slimkid3 and DJ Nu-Mark leaves envy at the door and ignores such trivial matters as The Grammy’s, choosing instead to deliver half an hour of toe-tapping Hip Hop treats.
What is remarkable about “Slimkid3 & DJ Nu-Mark” is how accessible it is – if Mark Ronson’s name was on the album then I could easily hear many of these tracks popping up on commercial radio. “I Know, Didn’t I” is the type of Hip Hop my mother would happily tolerate, and the type of Hip Hop I’m proud to listen to. There’s a real element of fun and joviality throughout the record, that each track possesses that golden “could be a single” quality. Nu-Mark showcases his chopping and scratching on “Work Hard”, a track that has the air of classic Jurassic 5 with flows switching along with the instrumental. Even “Let Me Hit” is delivered in such an innocent manner that it’s easy to forget that it’s about Slimkid3 trying to have sex with a lady he has his eye on.
They knew they were making a great album, because DJ Nu-Mark has provided instrumentals and acapellas for listeners to remix each track. Not many will be too bothered about this addition, but it’s a nice touch for those fans that wish to play around with the recipe that Slimkid3 and Nu-Mark have provided the ingredients for. Download the free audio-editing software Audacity and you’ll have hours of fun messing about trying to match up the acapella of Iggy Azalea’s “Work” to DJ Nu-Mark’s “Work Hard”. Maybe that’s just me.
The fact that this album could work as an instrumental record only highlights how well Nu-Mark has crafted these beats. “Let Me Hit”, “Bom Bom Fiya”, it doesn’t matter which song you choose; Slimkid3 & DJ Nu-Mark may only stick around for 27 minutes, but it’s largely flawless material. Bouncy, accessible, soulful, head-knocking, funky – this is one of a few rap records that can be enjoyed by various ages and backgrounds. It’s quite simply put, a joy to listen to.