I have decided, on a total whim, to review the new self-titled album by ‘Speaker People’.
Speaker People are a Hip Hop duo originating from Rowland Heights, California. The pair is comprised of Josiah Deadflowers and Spok Beats, who have been collaborating for the past six years. The culmination is this tasty record, released 27 March, 2013.
On the surface this production appears a straight-forward Hip Hop endeavor. Though, upon delving into the album, you are hit with sounds of soulful Funk, Jazz, Blues, and Reggae, all enveloped with a Hip Hop twist.
Though the pair seem most comfortable when rapping over blaring beats, the ability of the duo to expand from their roots of heavily-lyricised Hip Hop tunes to incorporate multiple other genres with apparent effortlessness makes the album feel all that more comfortable. Had it seemed forced to change the mood between every track, this would not have worked. As it is, this method invites listeners into a journey of musical experimentation that actually works. And the occasional venture away from heavy hip-hop gives the album somewhat more of a light-hearted and jovial feel overall. It is a healthy mix of heavy and light, and provides a song for every mood.
It almost seems as if they deliberately splattered a little bit of everything onto the album to account for all tastes. Even the use of a striking guitar solo on the track “Hard Times” is introduced. And then there is “Traffic” – an instrumental track placed mid-album that eases us into a very soulful track in “The Rise” including some luscious vocals from Ladee Dred and Arhomuz, followed then by a Reggae-filled ‘Get Down’.
And it works in one respect, but in another, you feel a little as if the duo is a bit lost about their true identity. Not that this discredits the production in any form. They say it themselves in the track ‘Mic Booth’ – “I’m made for the streets, made for the jazz, made for the blues.” And who am I to disagree? This production certainly supports those claims.
If you approach this album searching for a straight Hip Hop production, most aspects of this record will appeal to you, but be prepared to expand your horizons a little bit. If you’re worried you aren’t much of a Hip Hop connoisseur, Speaker People may still be worth checking out for you. It is a very accessible album.
Listen to the album via Spotify here: http://open.spotify.com/album/6UFFb74UfKgtZmwuXfXZPg