Jesse Perez – Kama Sucia (The Art of Slangin D)
Label: Mr Nice GuyScore: 8/10
Few producers are as difficult to pigeonhole as Miami native Jesse Perez, a man who’s made a living over the years thanks to his well-slung, low-fi sound. Even so, it’s the many sides of his production arsenal that continues to get people talking, and while it doesn’t always come to obvious fruition, Perez at least deserves praise for the manner in which he sets out his stall, not least because he continues to take chances with his music.
One quick look at the cover art and the tracklisting for ‘Kama Sucia (The Art Of Slangin’ D)’ confirms the notion that Perez’s style is an indebted to his Miami ‘gangsta’ roots as it is a 4/4 sound. This could be a negative factor, but instead, Perez merges the sounds, styles and attitudes with a sort of poise that could only be found in a producer confident in his own sound techniques.
Stuffed full of sometimes unnecessary ‘skits’ and ‘interludes’ (for which we have Dre et al to thank), this album, however, is destined to be just that, and is more about the cohesiveness of the music and the ramblings than it is just a few musical tidbits. Indeed, this is not some throwaway LP, and while it might seem like it’s been crafted without a care in the world, the dexterous hues and the many clever musical tidbits make a mockery of that claim. That said, there’s still no getting away from the fact that the album’s best parts come when Perez attempts to take the whole thing seriously.
Influences abound too. The synth sheen of ”Live From Dade County”, for instance, could well be lifted from a classic Omar S joint, while ”The Juice Maker” is the sort of twinkle-toed majestic number that could well be found in the locker of Kool & The Gang, not least die to a melody-line that forces parallels with ”Summertime Madness”. Elsewhere, ”Still Slangin That D” and ”4 Real” are particularly enjoyable numbers, even if Cashy’s unnecessarily bold lyrics on the latter sometimes distract from the brilliance of the music on offer. An album that basks in a glorious cosmic sheen, there’s a lot to love about Mr.Perez’s latest long player.