Meet Daoud Anthony.  Daoud hails from Santa Cruz, CA, the legendary surfer outpost and hippie republic.  He produces – his songs are sprawling, melodic, bordering on jazz-hop; he’s at once old-school and new-school.  He raps, too – in fact, he’s pretty good at it.  He has a butter-smooth, deep timbre that might make Barry White jealous.

Daoud is tall.  Very tall.  Taller than any rapper I can think of, except maybe Chali 2na and  Shaquille O’Neal when he picked up a mic (I’ll let that one slide).  According to my good friend from college who introduced me to Daoud’s music, he’s “not that good” at basketball.  Fortunately, Daoud isn’t trying to make it as a basketball player.

Santa Cruz is a lot more famous for its weed and its beaches than its hip-hop.  Sure, there were a couple groups you might have known about if you lived in the southern Bay Area in the early 2000s (Duce Company, The Moonies) and caught a few shows at The Catalyst. Eliquate, an alternative hip-hop band born in Santa Cruz, is making a splash on the West Coast.  Daoud’s hometown isn’t universally recognized as a fertile region for hip-hop, but he aims to shed the dogmas of place, ever-present in the image-driven music industry.

Daoud has already dropped two mixtapes, Costalgia and A Half-Baked Mixtape, which showcase his versatility and his ear.  Even an introductory listen to Daoud’s music reveals his aptitude–he is an impressive student of hip-hop’s canon, exemplifying the influences of oft-canonized producers like Pete Rock and 9th Wonder.  He favors boom-bap, lush jazz sounds, soul samples and extensive instrumental riffs, occasionally provided by local musicians.

This time, he joins with Seanzy, an Oakland rapper who sounds like (and I hate myself for making this comparison) a much cooler, more lyrical version of Mike Posner, to form Sunset Black.  In comparison to Daoud’s earlier work, the mood of Sunset Black is decidedly more upbeat, owing both to his occasional adoptions of house and funk music and his reinvigorated confidence in his own craft.   Two standout tracks are “On You”–Daoud’s most impressive display of lyrical dexterity–and the expansive “Goodmorning, Sunset”, the tape’s final track, on which Daoud flips George Benson’s classic ballad “Too Many Times” for SEVEN MINUTES.  It’s a perfect capstone for Sunset Black, a mixtape that radiates enthusiasm, resilience and confidence.  

“You want it? I got it/Can I be on my Phife, Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad?/So when I write this you need it like mnemonic devices/Concise shit, so throw ’em up like vomit”, Daoud spits on “On You”.  It’s a meaningful and well-founded affirmation.  He deserves it.  See for yourself after the jump.  And why not?

It’s FREE.

[wpsharely]Download Sunset Black here[/wpsharely]

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