The Kitchen

“The kitchen is where, you know, your family gets together, congregates … cooks a good meal … everything is done with love. [And] we got crazy love for hip-hop, so we do all this outta love for y’all.” This opening statement from “The Kitchen Intro” is an apt description for the new Hieroglyphics album, The Kitchen, the Oakland-based collective’s first full-length album since 2003’s Full Circle. The Kitchen plays like a series of lyrical conversations around the table, ranging from braggadocious to heartfelt. It is filled with embellishment, straight-talk, tales of survival, and stories from the road. Album production is courtesy of Sacramento DJ crew, the Sleeprockers, who masterfully weave examples of the Bay Area’s rich musical history into each track, like “Livin’ It Up,” which employs an Oakland-funk horn loop with hyphy-esque echoing bass on which the MCs unapologetically boast about achieving a way of life based upon pulling themselves up by their collective bootstraps. And the next cut, “The Mayor,” builds on its predecessor with the chorus: “We run shit like the Mayor.” Songs like “Indonesia” and “Indonesia Interlude” sport complex patchworks of exotic sounds, while “Wshores Galore” and “That Merch” are straight-up feel-good dance tracks that will undoubtedly keep your head nodding.