Although it’s been on local shelves for months, we had to get around to giving props to local producer da Vinci and his latest project with limber local rapper Clint Malik, who recently left for Phoenix to attend a recording arts school.
To understand the concept of afrodiisiac ("a sound, label and movement"), you have to understand what da Vinci calls H20—a hip-hop offspring that combines elements of hip-hop with an appreciation of old-school soul, funk and jazz for a sound that is decidedly mellow and in a smooth-flowing vein ("not too aggressive or in your face,” says da Vinci). Strings, piano and drum machine were pre-recorded to four-track, recorded onto ADAT, then mastered on Pro Tools in Paradise for a polished sound that is fairly accomplished for a local, first recording (instrumentally, think Sade meets Marvin Gaye at a trip-hop club).
After a brief intro ("Whassup, nice to meet you, I’m Clint Malik"), the album shows its savvy flavor right away with the hypnotic and swirling “Afrodiisiac Jazz,” then breaks into “Ready to Live,” with Malik showing some consistent skills on the mike and a propensity for underground themes (the inability to get underground rap music heard in a commercial hierarchy). At times, Malik conjures shades of some classic rap groups—namely Digable Planets and Tribe Called Quest—but most of these tracks sound like they could be called Songs to Knock Boots By (i.e., “Let’s Get It On” circa 2000).
The album also features some nice alto and tenor sax touches on several tracks compliments of Chicoan Scott Daykoff. Malik and da Vinci are currently working long distance on a follow-up album, and if this debut is any indication, you can expect more dopeness to come. The production team is also currently working on new projects with other local rappers, as well as arranging a Web site. For now, you can find this album in fine local music stores.