Artist: Count Bass DTitle: BegborrowsteelRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jesse Fairfax

Count Bass D is a force to be reckoned with as many can boast sharing the MC/producer title, but how many can play a variety of instruments? Dwight Farrell out of Nashville has been quietly making his mark for over a decade now. Usual industry setbacks kept the highly acclaimed Art For Sale and Pre-Life Crisis from reaching the masses in an era where similar acts like Digable Planets and The Roots were heralded as champions of the jazz-rap sound. Dwight Spitz released in 2002 featured what were at the time up and coming underground acts like Edan and MF DOOM while he changed his production style to using a sampler but still kept things hitting hard, challenging listeners for the whole ride. His big moment recently came with the metal face villain’s sophomore release MM Food on “Potholders”, which he not only guest starred on but also produced. Begborrowsteel (Ramp) is Count Bass D’s return to claim his stake and the current time is better than ever.

This project is a collection of shorter pieces; the audience is left pleased but sometimes cut short while enjoying a song. Count Bass D’s lyrics come from a more abstract personal place that listeners may not fully comprehend, but he rides a beat very well. “The Mingus Sextet” is a highlight, a looped keyboard beat with the addition of strings and a country guitar over a traditional boom bap drum. “Nina & Weldon” is a short piano piece that pays homage to Nina Simone and Weldon Irvine. The lead single “Down Easy” experiments with singing, a style the Count hasn’t tried since Pre-Life Crisis, it has a more of a mellow country & funk sound to it. “New Edition Karaoke” is another high point on this project as he has fun paying homage to Michael Bivins’ quartet as a group along with their solo careers over a synthesized throwback song. “Low Batteries” takes things back to the days of a tape recorder slowing down when it needed fresh new AAs while Count takes this time to send a warning shot to his competitors.

Begborrowsteel is a creative journey through the mind of what may seem like a madman to some, but a genius to those unafraid to pay heed.