Dumhi – The Jungle
Purchase on Amazon
Dumhi is like the Raconteurs of hip-hop. A revolving door of who’s who on the OkayPlayer Boards, it mainly involves Haji Rana Pinya, a beatmaker/lyricist who caught a lot of attention after the release of They Call Me Bruce, the sophomore 3 Steps from Heaven, Indian Summer and the storytelling driven project Flowers. On the newest concept record, The Jungle, it becomes much more for Haj, injecting personal stories along with an impressive guest list such as Reef The Lost Cauze, Che Grand, Random, Ethel Cee, Elucid, and many more. And there is a rich storyline to it about gang life in Philadelphia in the ’60s and it’s all blended with jazz samples galore. It may be hip-hop to some, but to Dumhi, it’s yet another notch in the belt for yet another awesome Dumhi release.
Starting with the intro “Only The Strong Survive”, you can hear the rich bongos weaving itself into the storyline, while saxophones lace up “No Redemption”. Going further into the disc, you hear “Into The Jungle”, which is scatterbrain on the drums and following more into the documentary, while you have the break-beat inspired “Dumhi Cannons”, with horns galore and a driven guitar sample. Much as the case, you also got “Philly Cousins”, which is triumphant yet silent in its horn structure, while the drum break rides it along and the rhymes make you nod your head uncontrollably. “Kill That” sounds like the cousin to Wu-Tang’s “Uzi (Pinky Ring)”. And “Bang Land” utilizes more cowbell than the Doobie Brothers as its rhymes still continue to drive the project hard into your head.
All of it is produced by Haj, and it shows. The beats are pretty much descendants of Wu-Tang and Hieroglyphics, with some Pete Rock sprinkled in. The rhymes do a great job of helping drive the point home how your not sot typical project can come off sounding more magical than one can imagine, pushing the gangster imagery forth while not losing any of its lyrical complexity. This can be thanked on behalf of strong guest appearances, namely from folks such as Jermiside, Che Grand, Ethel Cee, Flud, Burke The Jurke, and many more. The lone gripe with this disc is its only11 tracks spread over 35 minutes, which unless you’re Illmatic, Murs 3:16 – The 9th Edition, or Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, will leave you playing The Jungle over and over. Also the idea of using Ethiopian jazz samples, while helpful, has been done before, but the argument can be made that it’s moreso for paying homage and making the idea more a bullet point of importance than just a simple but rarely mentioned point of reference. Welcome to the concrete jungle, where emo rappers are just hearsay, and the references are lyrical and sometimes drug/violence laden, but still never manage to lose their integrity.