Leader of the Afro Latin Vintage Orchestra, Percussionnist, beatmaker, sound engineer, Masta Conga return with his first solo Hip Hop album titled “Back to Basics”. The project features U-george, Emskee, Blaqpoet, Starvin B, Oxygen, Juga-naut, Junclassic, Alakazam, Coherent, Stinkin Slimrok and Racecar.
The opening track on Back to Basics seemed to lunge at me from my speakers and demand, not just ask for, my attention. But it also managed to move and groove me in a more than pleasant way. The record is obviously hip-hop but the jazz and funk influences are prevalent throughout, in loving touches that make you want to dance and in wonderful musical meanderings that break the mould of the tracks without disrupting your groove.
After taking in track after track on multiple occasions, I was able to put my finger on something. A somewhat haunting vibe creeps and crawls with you through this album, sometimes in the lyrics and often in the music, which helps to paint a fantastically rich and real picture in the mind. The lyrics range from downright scary to unbelievably soulful and hit everywhere in between. They find the realness of life and the poetic nature of art and music. At times while listening to this record I was reminded of exactly who and what I was but, more often, I was inspired to be better or to just change full stop.
But before you think that this album is all conscience and no groove, let me tell you that I danced to these tracks time after time. I found that it accompanied my morning or afternoon workouts brilliantly, helping to pass the time effortlessly and all the while keeping my pace up with its relentless and surprisingly dance-worthy beats.
I must say that I was more than entertained on each and every one of the multiple listening sessions I have given Back to Basics since it entered my life. And I definitely think that I will continue to listen to it after completing this review. This record has left a mark of some kind on me and I feel all the better for it. What gets me each time I put this record on is its soulfulness. It almost reaches out and gently hugs you, as both words and beats effortlessly caress your ears while shaking your limbs, then suddenly it is over almost as soon as it begun. As I mentioned earlier, this exquisite collection of tracks help time to pass by really nicely, while still entertaining and touching you. I can definitely recommend this wonderful musical marvel.