August 18, 2009

Philadelphia Slick

Philadelphia, PA
Produced by E. Garland and Noesis |
Mixed by B. Polinsky | Mastered by Rick
Frederich for Pork Fried Productions

While ?uestlove and The Roots mope around the set at the painful-to-watch Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Philadelphia Slick keep the live hip-hop game afloat in the Mid-Atlantic.

Like state-sponsored hand-me-downs from their older Philly siblings, the instruments are given life from under the holy banners of James Brown funk and Curtis Mayfield soul. Lead MC, Noesis, flows with dedicated respect to the backing music, comprised of warm keys, smooth bass lines and a vibrant horn section. Female vocals lend their soulful tenderness to the punchy snares of drummer El Smooth’s steady boom-bap, especially on “Can’t You Hear” and “The Opera.”

Instead of digging deep in the crates for recycled breakbeats, Phil Slick crafted
Oil with an emphasis on reinterpreting the old for a more live performance-friendly sound. On “Gonna Get Over,” Noesis complains about “getting called for sampling something not even on the track,” which gives an idea of how familiar their beats sound to a trained ear. At the same time, though, they sound totally unique. “Poets Write Killers” is like a RZA track performed with a full band: short horn loops mixed over vocal snippets and a strong, but subtle, percussive backdrop. Noesis rhymes about his city like a man talks about his troubled brother – warm, fretful love. From P-Funk to The Roots to Philadelphia Slick, the jazz and funk-driven big rhythm, crowded stage aesthetic has always had its place in the hearts of head-bobbers and body-movers. With Oil, Phil Slick continues this tradition. (self-released)
-Jake Schnaidt

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