Monday, January 18, 2010
OKAYPLAYER.COM Review of A Shot in the Dark
Check out this dope review of our album from OKAYPLAYER.COM
Notes To Self
A Shot In The Dark
BBE : 2009
84/100 Posted on 01/12/2010
In a world of over-produced, commoditized hip hop, it’s strangely comforting to hear the scratch of a turntable these days. The tool that once laid the groundwork for the culture has since been pushed to the background (not backing an MC) and become a novelty for many contemporary artists. Not Notes to Self. Notes to Self are a five member Canadian based hip hop collective anchored by the 2003 World DMC Champion, DJ Dopey, plus two rappers, a rapper/producer, and a writer/illustrator. Wait, an illustrator? Yes, an illustrator. Remember those four elements of hip hop? Notes to Self do, and their debut LP, A Shot In The Dark, is a refreshing reminder that those founding elements are still relevant today.
To be fair, Notes to Self are not the only ones making boom-bap hip hop these days, but A Shot In The Dark is such a well-rounded full-length debut that it’s hard not to get a little excited. By no means are they hip hop traditionalists, Notes to Self more re-contextualize the jazz-based beats and relatable lyrics of the early 90s into our contemporary musical landscape. From the opening track, “Yellow and Grey,” it’s clear that Dilated Peoples have played a major role in their development, not only in their production and turntabalism, but flow as well (Fittingly, they are joined by Dilated on the album’s bonus track, a remix of “Yellow and Grey,” and Evidence on “Nobody”). In fact, Notes to Self are the first to acknowledge the influence that their musical idols have had on what they do, citing Nas’s “Made You Look,” on the laid-back “Days Like These,” and waxing poetic over first hearing De La Soul’s Stakes Is High on “Midnight Oil.”
It’s their passion for hip hop and its history that sets Notes to Self apart. While A Shot In The Dark is not without a lyrical misstep or two, the pros drastically outweigh the cons on an impressively consistent and well-polished debut LP. Like a Canadian mish-mash of Dilated Peoples and People Under the Stairs , Notes to Self bring a refreshing breath of honesty and fun to hip hop that is so rare these days. Throw in a hugely talented DJ and all the elements are there for what is much more than a simple shot in the dark. Note to self: Keep an eye on these guys, because they have an exciting future ahead of them.
Thanks to Dave G. Ginny and Matt S. for making this happen.