Chosen Few – New World Symphony
Clear Label Records: 2010
Purchase on Amazon
It’s difficult to create a signature sound. Every artist should wish to achieve this feat, and there is a great community with the West Coast independent hip-hop scene that has an energy that can’t be found anywhere else. So, it wasn’t much of a surprise that the Hiero Imperium decided to put out the Chosen Few’s project New World Symphony.
There’s a Steve Martin quote that goes “instead of being great, I’d rather be consistently good.” There is some merit in that thinking. Artists like D’Angelo may have crafted a classic record with Voodoo, but yet he’s been unable to resurface with a full-length in a decade.
New World Symphony embodies a nostalgia that is reminiscent of hip-hop that crafted many Dilated Peoples and Hiero affiliate hits. That sound is filled with pure-honest hip-hop. No over the top theatrics or tight ass jeans. Just dope music about every day issues that regular people can relate to.
And you hear that on songs like “Can’t Stand Still”, which is a wonderfully crafted mellow-ode to speaking to women (reminiscent of “Mind Sex” by dead prez). There are ways of making a song about being intimate without being contrived or L.L. Cool J-ish. They did it perfectly with a hook that goes: “She say that I won’t, I say that I will, she say that we can’t, I say I can stand still…we gonna do what they say can’t be done.”
Other songs like “The People”, “Dreamscape” and “It’s Good”, the latter of which features a criminally slept on Raaka from Dilated Peoples, are other instant standouts for their Cali-based grooves and smooth rhymes.
I think one of the reasons that music like this always works for me, is that it’s a prime example of coastal-unity. The songs reflect artists that are passionate and dedicated to the culture. It’s refreshing to hear all of the people involved with each other’s projects (really being the primary reason that the West Coast indy scene flourished at the turn of the millennium).
In essence New World Symphony is a good album. It’s not a classic, but it doesn’t have to be. If it’s something to help the work week move a little faster, then they have a great contribution to society. There are moments where some hooks and beats don’t work as well as some of the other highlights listed above, but it wasn’t enough to not enjoy the project. New World Symphony is a great example that if you make music out of pureness and honesty, you will always have solid results.