Sonic Reducer: Nxworries

Robin Babb
3 min read
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Anderson .Paak, the most animated dude in neo-soul, picks his collaborations well. This debut LP from his team-up with producer Knxwledge is as sexy as it is soulful, swinging seamlessly from the glorious, gospel-infused “Livvin” that revels in “look how far we’ve come” joy to the groovy steal-your-girl track “Link Up.” The single “Suede” is still my favorite track, with its staccato drums and some incredible lines delivered by .Paak, like “all my chicks cook grits/ and roll a spliff/ at the same damn time.” This LP is way more cohesive than NxWorries’ EP from last year, and is as good to listen all the way through as it is to pick favorites from.

Childish Gambino ÒMe and Your MamaÓ (Glassnote)

Childish Gambino (the musical alias of Donald Glover) has been impressing listeners with his clever turns of phrase and his falsetto croon for years—but the new single from his upcoming album, Awaken, My Love!, proves that he has plenty of surprises up his sleeve. The six minute track, titled “Me and Your Mama,” is a beautiful mashup of gospel choirs, trap beats and searing, Hendrix-esque guitars. It’s completely unlike anything we’ve heard from him before. The most exciting new element, though, is Gambino’s singing—he channels James Brown in a soulful howl that raises the hairs on the back of ones neck. If such is an indication of the quality to be found on the rest of the album to be released on Dec. 2, color me very interested.

A Tribe Called Quest We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic Records)

The long-awaited final album from one of the most iconic and lovable hip-hop groups in history is an evolution for A Tribe Called Quest: The genre has changed a lot since the band’s beginnings in 1985, especially in terms of recording technology and sampling laws. The result is a graceful, nuanced combination of old and new, but this is still unmistakably a TCQ album. Q Tip’s unstoppable flow opens up the first track, “The Space Program,” with the breathless delivery of a “we’re back” message. It’s a good thing they are—this album is one of a few redeeming recordings in this otherwise questionable year. Give it a spin to remember the good old days, and to brighten your outlook on the future, too.

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