Artist: Up HyghTitle: The Venus AlbumRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Jason Hortillas
When you think of Sweden, Hip-Hop is definitely not the first thing to come to mind. Major exports of the country usually do not include funky bass lines, and an appealing groove. However, these qualities are held by a duo hailing from Stockholm called Up Hygh. Comprised of Pure P and Rick Skizzo, the 20 year old Swedes release their debut The Venus Album (Raw Fusion) with a sound evidently influenced by classic Funk and Soul. Not only did they handle the production duties but held it down on vocals as well as the cuts.
Europes propensity for the groove goes all the way back to the Jazz era. Even today you can see the influence on up and coming producers from the Hip-Hop generation. With the success of The Foreign Exchange, it is not a surprise that the talents from the other side of the Atlantic are given an open ear. Ironically, Phonte of Foreign Exchange and Little Brother fame blesses the mic with partner Rapper Big Pooh on "Keep On." Also enlisting another stateside artist, Planet Asia leads off on the posse cut "Speak Yo Piece."
Rather than a debut, The Venus Album sounds more like producers compilation with a handful of homegrown guest appearances. There is a good amount of potential in the group yet many of the songs overlap and sound similar. Notably, tracks like "Compatible" add a signer/rapper combo formula that works for them. The downside is that it may get too redundant by the end of record. The group's sound may be a work in progress for better things to come, but in the meantime skip value isn't necessary if Funk inspired Hip-Hop is your thing.