Palm Beach-based beat maker Shawn Wayne flies his boom-bap colors high and proud on his solo debut, The Wayne Event
, released recently on FootWork4Self
. Cut from a cloth of men who like their samples soulful, their drums gritty, and their beats between 85 and 95 beats per minute, Wayne's 15-track collection is like a warm embrace from an old friend. And a much-needed hug for many -- where once we were beating back golden-era nostalgia with a Louisville Slugger, 2011 has been a tough year for the classically trained hip-hop head. While rap purists stand around and scratch their heads at the popularity of underground artists like Das Racist, Lil B, and Odd Future, The Wayne Event
gives them something familiar and sorely missed to come home to.
The album opens with its biggest gun drawn, a driving cypher-style track titled "Kickin' Raps"
featuring up-and-comer Shod Supreme and Rhymesayers cofounder Sab the Artist. Things carry on strong with solid, sample-chopped head-nodders featuring guest spots from Benchwarmers Clique affiliate and Leftoverz member Kylla Bus, Colorado husband-and-wife duo the ReMINDers, and the Shawn Wayne Songwriters Contest winner Flash McClane
At midpoint, we find fellow FootWork4Self
artists Jabrjaw and DJ Dee Dubbs on "No Shame"
-- rapping and scratching with the fury of many men, they provide what is perhaps the most appropriate accompaniment to a Shawn Wayne beat on the record. More help from South Florida favs comes in the form of LOX the Rippa's party-rocking "Get Up, Get Down"
and the dark jazz of PFM and Iron Ora's "Mirror Image."
Another visit from Jabs and Dubbs on a Wayne remix of the high-energy, FW4S classic "Funk Keeps Banging"
and we're at the last official track on the album.
The last two cuts, Alaskan spitter Odyssey's "Due Time"
and Minnesota rapper Knox's "Say That,"
appear as bonus tracks for some reason -- if I were to take a stab, I would say they were submitted late. And if such is the case, it was worth the wait, as Knox turns in what's easily the best lyrical performance on the record over a tough battle-hymn banger to close it out strong.
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