Just when hip hop was getting a little bland, up pops Homecut.
Elle J Small 2009
Just when hip hop was getting a little bland, up pops a wonderfully diverse debut from seven-piece Brit band, Homecut. Cinematic soul, broken beat and jazz infusions glide alongside slick raps and spiritual vocals.
Entering with a poetic piano and some deep drums, album title intro No Freedom Without Sacrifice sets the tone for a lushly left record with hip hop at its core. A 'recorded live' vibe ensues and then we move on.
Fans of Bugz In The Attic and the broken beat scene will smile as the disjointed bleeps and bass of Participant melt under chopped up raps and staccato vocals.
Award-winning soul singer Corinne Bailey-Rae and renowned saxophonist Soweto Kinch join Homecut founder/rapper/producer Testament to spread the love further on I Don't Even Know. This rich production competes as one of the album's finest.
Jazz runs riot with hip hop on Innovators (Nostalgically Speaking) as Homecut's front man Testament provides conscious lyrics and a loop slick enough to rival the late, great J Dilla (Slum Village).
More highlights flow with uplifting soul-meets-dance number Not Far To Go and icy cool hip hop cut Time Difference, featuring J-Live, with its random samba outro. YKTE featuring LeeSun also gleams with its laidback raps and melancholy soul.
Comedy comes courtesy of skit Ecclesiastes 3:11 by British rapper Ty. The title translates as Bible passage, ''He has made everything beautiful in its time….'' Clearly this is a dig at Testament as Ty quips, ''If you ain't got this album ready next time I see you/ It’s a head-butt, headlock…''.
Remarkably, there is absolutely nothing at fault with No Freedom Without Sacrifice. Scrap that. We'll echo Ty and shout out loud, ''What took you so long?''