The word ‘dopeness’ can’t begin to qualify this brilliant collaboration between K-Def & the 45 King. Students of the game would instantly recognize both names albeit from different works in the hip-Hop timeline. It’s somewhat rare hearing two established producers crafting a full project in this time and age but judging from their past works, I knew I was in for a special treat.
The entire project just as the title ‘Back to the beat’ suggests, attempts(and succeeds) to take the listener right into the thick of the BEAT. That is all that matters here, the soulful chops, jazzy piano riffs, booming basslines, thick drums, 90s rap snippets and then some. From the intro track Jaguar(and all the Feline related tracks) to bob cat lude, K-Def and the 45 King switch things every now and then that makes this a pretty cohesive and blissful piece of work.
You have to listen to this, I tell you. Dopeness is the all I can say right now.
Blame it on luck or even the Six Degrees of Separation. When Redefinition Records caught word of K-Def’s relationship with The 45 King, two questions emerged, “What is he doing these days and how can we get together for a project?” Once they reconnected, the dedicated New Jersey beatsmith pitched the instrumental collab that is, Back to the Beat; after a number of sessions, we finally have the finished product ready for the masses.
This dedicated work ethic isn’t foreign for K-Def. As a producer who has providing beats for the likes of Ghostface Killah, LL Cool J, Lords of the Underground, and Diddy, he’s elevated his status to become a heavyweight “producer’s producer” who lets his track record of releasing four albums of new material per year, speak for itself. At this stage in his career, ‘Beat’ is the perfect move for him. Def’s early work alongside the legendary Marley Marl, who is easily one of Hip-Hop’s most coveted producers, allowed them to establish a mentor/mentee relationship. And if you don’t hear a jam from The 45 King, you’re not at a true party. Beyond the infamous 87′ hit “The 900 Number,” 45 has supplied beats for everybody from Eminem and Jay Z, to Madonna, and of course, Queen Latifah, revealing his dynamic personality and flexible style in regards to his music. These two forces bring their unique strengths to the album, which plays upon the relationship of Def looking up to 45 as a Hip-Hop inspiration.
Conceptually, the album is Hip-Hop at its simplest, but most altruistic form, and doesn’t deviate from 45’s prior history of joining forces with another producer on a single project. Both artists have lived through the trends, and flashy styles, and know what will last the test of time. Every beat and every sample has been meticulously chosen in order to get their message of exploring Boom bap in 2014, and neither musician falls flat. K and 45 have stripped the tracks down to their bare essentials, leaving us with a raw and explosive “less is more” feel-good style production. Fans of K-Def’s most recent releases, especially his latest effort, Tape One, will be familiar with the similar series of low-end sounds that are a staple in his previous works. Beyond the hard drums and juicy samples weaved into the tracks, the album prides itself on being accessible to old and new fans, alike. Whether they want you to get in a party mood or enjoy a euphoric melody, K-Def and The 45 King’s Back to the Beat is a standout project from both artists, and is guaranteed to get stuck in your rotation, and possibly even you