You remember A Tribe Called Quest right? You remember the moment you heard they were reuniting? That they were doing a cut called “I C U (Doin’ It)?” What you probably don’t know is that Amiri produced it. You might not know much about the South Carolina native, but he’s continued to make several beats since then. You also probably don’t recall the fact he put out an album. That changes now, since his newest release, The Recipe, definitely brings a good vibe back to hip hop. The albums you used to play on a lazy weekend afternoon, and maybe used that night as your soundtrack? Yeah, Amiri’s definitely got that.
Clocking in shy of 38 minutes, The Recipe is Amiri in his finest moment, as he travails through the drums of boom bap, living real life as a working man who’s doing this as a hobby, and shouting out everything he’s lived since then. The Recipe definitely serves as his diary, and while he doesn’t skimp on the details, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t skimp on quality, either. You can hear it in the horns of the digger’s anthem, “Vinyl Ritchie”, and it also shines through in “Like They Used Ta! (FM Version)”. If The Recipe came out in ’98, this would serve perfectly as an addendum to a much debated classic, The Love Movement.
Amiri definitely shows off his best work behind the boards, and those moments are abundant, and serve as nice breaks between his vocal tracks. Such tracks as “DILLA 4EVA!!!” deliver hard-hitting drums, simple vocal samples on occasion, and leave you nodding your head in amazement, while other tracks like “Rich & Famous,” serve as more a commentary and a testament to his work on the vocals. The raps may sound elementary, but don’t let that sway your judgement, since they serve best as a compliment to the beat, and the raps Amiri kicks are pretty much as close to real life as you’ll get. You can also hear dope production work behind “Love Go Away” and the proclamation that serves behind “I Make Hits Too!!!”, which show off his craft in a classy and not-so-crass sort of manner.
Again, having an album with an Illmatic length may serve as a double-edged sword in the end, and you are hankering for much more detail and insight about the man behind the boards. While an album such as The Recipe may not serve a massive helping as a three course meal, it does well as a very welcome main course, and its refreshing that in these days and times, you just want something that speaks to your current disdain with hip hop, no matter how it’s served. In that context, The Recipe shines as bright as sunlight.