Released just before Nujabes’ album, Metaphorical Music, Hydeout Productions broke out onto the scene with the First Collection. It featured a large selection of tracks by a fair amount of underground hip-hop and jazz-hop producers, including members of Five Deez, Funky DL, Apani B. Fly, Substantial, Shing02 and more.
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Moon Strut! The clue is in the name, lightweight beats with piano melodies; this song just relaxes and prepares the listener for the album ahead. Nujabes makes the track sound exactly like the track name, which is remarkable for instrumental music at times. Next up it gets exciting with Funky DL from London, UK. It brings out a side to rap that is rarely present in this great city. It’s one of those tracks that make you bop along the curb for those long walks. Two songs in, I’m impressed; fresh sounding tracks, featuring the production talents of Nujabes. So what about songs in the album not produced by Nujabes?
Home Sweet Home, is a track chosen to feature in this compilation, and I can see why. Substantial flowing in with his lyrics and Monorisick (known more popularly as DJ Deckstream) on the production; together they do something strange and unique. Flutes, simply put, bring a level of originality to this track. It compliments Substantial on the voice work while not overpowering it as well as not being too high on the scale.
My favourite track on the album is hands down, is Still Talking To You by Nujabes. It starts up with a stutter-step cut-up sample just looped for a few bars and when the beat drops, reminiscent of some jazz-funk combination, you can’t not catch the beat. One of the simplest tracks on the album, featuring problem four to five different instruments (including the two voice samples), show that sometimes the sparser track can be just as effective as a more complex track.
The closing track is luv sic. featuring Shing02, Nujabes’ close friend, show the poetry of an rapper not given enough credit for his lyrics, for an individual whose first language isn’t English, he does a better job with his originality than most rappers. This song reverberates throughout both of Nujabes’ and Shing02’s careers as they produce five parts of the song to illustrate the story of each other’s music over the seven years they worked together.
All in all this is a versatile album that took Hydeout Productions off the ground, each track is unique and you can see why Hydeout Productions is still going strong after nearly a decade.