Artist: NomadicTitle: Back To The BeatRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Conan Milne
It’s not uncommon for old school and new school Hip-Hop heads to disagree. Plenty of veteran fans lament, somewhat justifiably, over the current state of the genre, while newer listeners can find the praised material of more than a decade ago difficult to relate to. With Back To The Beat, rising producer Nomadic Trackz attempts to deliver something that both groups can agree upon. A 2006 homage to some of the 80s’ classic cuts, Trackz brave attempt may just succeed in its goal.
The mixtape begins with a fittingly downbeat re-twisting of Grand Master Flash and The Furious 5’s “The Message”, successfully making the delivery of each verse sound more sombre than ever before. The production excels with its use of some well-placed, drawn out jazzy horns. However, sometimes the vocals get swamped among such instrumentation.
Nomadic’s take on Run DMC’s “My Adidas” differs greatly in its production when compared to “The Message”” remix mentioned. The elegant strings are spine-tingling and work in harmony with the breaks and occasional thumps of the backing drum. Here, the legendary vocals shine through, and don’t sound in competition with the beat. Although this is a modern remake of an old favorite, its not too difficult to imagine breakdancers busting out moves to this Nomadic effort. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if that is the producer’s intention. Rakim’s vocals, meanwhile, sound echoed over the breezy, strummed production for “I Know You Got Soul”. This effect helps make an already relaxing rework all the more so, and this is a perfect tune for a hot summer day, giving new meaning to The R’s lyric “I write my rhymes while I cool in my mansion”.
Nomadic Trackz has to be commended for going where few have (successfully) gone before, by daring to provide his take on some of the finest old-school jams. While some of these updates definitely work better than others, some timeless vocals often carry the less impressive cuts, and, nonetheless, this remains a fine homage to some of the finest boom bap that the genre has to offer. So, whether you consider yourself an old or new school Hip-Hop listener, cast your reservations aside and give this mix a listen – you might be pleasantly surprised.