February 18, 2015

Battlecat - Gumbo Roots (1995)


A smooth and radio friendly collection of G-funk tracks produced by Battlecat, or DJ Battlecat as he's sometimes known. Battlecat had a very spotty production discography in the early 90s but then blew up in the latter half of the decade, having a hand in almost all West coast related hip hop. I consider this a proper solo album, but it is a little weird by the fact that it's led by a producer and features a massive pool of guest rappers (most producers tend to stick with a group or single MC and stay behind the scenes).

His style, like I said, is easy and radio friendly. Once the track drops, almost nothing is going to change, but that's alright since he's using awesome sounds and playing with the entire stereo spectrum. He has a very ice-cold approach on the boards, similar to Warren G's style, but with a little less emphasis on the bass. The easier bass on here means it's going to sound less "G" and more of the smooth and sexy sound that would begin appearing in the radio-oriented hip hop/r&b cuts that would appear at the end of the decade. Gumbo Roots isn't any more homogenous than any of the other secondary g-funk albums we post, but some might criticize it for diluting the subgenre and making pop-rap out of g-funk. That's a total assumption on my part, as I haven't seen much discussion on this at all, but regardless, I do like these slicker and simple progression beats since it makes for some awesome music to drive around the city at night.

The rapping is radio friendly as well. Lyrics are considerably more clean than the individual tracks Battlecat would produce for rappers. The verses are whatever since they aren't the focus point of the album and while there are some great rappers featured like Dresta and Rass Kass, there are plenty of forgettable moments as well. But for some reason I love the appeal of a pop rap/g-funk synthesis and it all remains appealing to me. So while you should listen to this if you're a fan of 90s West coast hip hop, be ready for something different than Above The Law and Death Row.

Sample

Gumbo Roots