Finale’s dreams are well worth hearing.
Lou Thomas 2009
Locals already knew that rap in Detroit was a hotbed of underground voices but it took Eminem to show the world Motor City was about more than Marvin Gaye and garage rock. A decade since Slim Shady took things mainstream and Michigan's blighted town hasn't produced another A-list player yet remains full of hidden talents like Finale. Having paid his dues under the wing of venerable producers like the late J Dilla, Finale has now released a debut album comprising a welcome collection of old-skool jams.
There are no huge experimental surprises on A Pipe Dream… but pretty much every track is solidly, produced and full of simple but smart rhyming. On A Reason our man intones, ''I am what I am /one man with one plan/ you are what you are/ so rare but so scared'', amid nagging retro piano loops and suave funk samples.
Heat meanwhile is a heavier proposition all together. As our man raps it's, ''underground like I'm speaking through a manhole'' and there's a cool sense of being a conspirator as he spits, ''Keep a low profile won't notice in a crowd but I know you know the style''. The paranoid, brooding production here is the album's best and comes from one of the aforementioned Dilla.
The Senator is a slower but powerful replete with classical string samples, elastic bass and rock guitar stabs, Pay Attention has a killer snare sound that recalls De la Soul's best moments and One Man Show includes techy motifs like Kratwerk gone baroque.
Perhaps the most immediately obvious touchstone is Q-Tip's The Renaissance, arguably the best hip-hop release of 2008 and one that didn't push things forward but amalgamated classic sounds and created something fresh.
For rap that's not about flogging ringtones and has few concessions to bling and honeys cliché Finale's dreams are well worth hearing.