Sweeney Kovar has turned his now defunct rap blog Classic Drug References into a label and compilation series of the same name. He seems to have made some good connections in the years since he shut down the blog. The first installment in the label's series features track from west coast heavy hitters like Blu and Ras G as well as Detroit's notorious Danny Brown. Things kick off with a mellow guitar loop from Mike Chav, engineer and producer for Erykah Badu and Jay Electronica. It's an easy point of entry for a collection of tracks that maintain some serious abstract vibes while occasionally diving into left coast hip hop. Blu & Knxwledge keep things close to the latter while Ras G takes things into his typically outer space direction. Somehow Zeroh finds his way around the track and delivers some equally out there rhymes. I've got to say I'm not familiar with Pablo Ygál, but his "Disappear Without A Trace" is a welcome inclusion. It has a jazz fusion feel with a little Topanga Canyon vibe mixed in. The comp closes with two producer and MC pairings that you probably wont see anywhere else. The Danny Brown cut features Mndsgn production that is about as open as anything Brown has spit over to date. It would be a hard act to follow, but Dibiase cleans things up with a Dilla inspired beat for Quelle. It's a closing track that brings us back to reality. Triple 7" boxset including detailed liner notes, interviews and photographs.
- music label: Classic Drug References 2014
reviewed by Kool Moby 03/2014