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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Divinity Roxx

ImPossible

Review by Gary Hill

A lot of people disregard hip hop as “not music.” Certainly that label applies to some of the genre. It does not apply to all of it, though. When you consider that fact, and add in the fact this is really a genre bending set, you will see that this thing is worth checking out. Sure, there is a lot of rapping, so I suppose by definition it’s hip hop. But, it has a lot of rock and jazz and more. Divinity Roxx is a bass player, so it’s no surprise that her playing here really shines. I would guess that if you wanted a grip on what this set sounds like as a whole, I’d put in somewhere in the area shared by Prince’s New Power Generation stuff, Parliament Funkadelic and The Black Eyed Peas. However you label this, though, it’s probably not like anything you’ve heard before. It’s also just plain great.If you don't think hip hop can show off real musicianship, give this a try.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Miracle

You could call this a hip hop tune. Sure, the vocals are all raps. Musically, though, this is killer funky jazz. This is such a classy piece of music.

Break Down These Walls feat Anhayla
Piano start this and the cut builds on that. The (sung) vocals that enter are so pretty. The raps join after that part. This screams out into some harder rocking stuff beyond that. It’s high energy and very cool. More singing emerges later, really rocking. The cut keeps changing and evolving.
Can It B SO Hard feat Victor Wooten
This is another with a real jazzy groove. It has some space music in the mix, too. Sure, it has rapping, so you could call it hip hop, too. There is a bit of a reggae break down on this thing, too. I really like some of the changes on this a lot.
Stinger (So Real)
The bass starts this in a great progression. This song has a lot of rock and other elements dancing around one another. Part of the vocals are rapped. Part of them are sung. This is an accessible cut that deftly evades genre classification. The lyrics address modern realities of life.
We Are
I love the mix of mainstream rock and hip hop on this cut. It’s an empowering and soaring piece. It’s one of the highlights of the set.
The Book
Jazz and modern elements merge in a killer jam here. The vocals are sort of understated, feeling more like an instrument. This is a killer song. It’s another standout tune.
WhachaDoiNWhereUATWhoUWit feat. Derrick Baskin and Daniel J. Watts
The mix of classic jazz and hip hop is just so cool. The horns add a lot to the mix, but the backing vocals are also one of the strong points. This song includes some male raps along with the customary female ones.
Question featDerrick Baskin
This is a very jazzy number. Yes, there is still some rapping here, but this is less hip hop than it is jazz. It reminds me a lot of something Prince might do in a lot of ways, too. This has a bit of an odd arrangement, but it winds up working so well.
Let U Go
Bass starts this, and the song is very funky. I make out some Prince in the mix here, but some Frank Zappa, too. This is great stuff.
Hey U feat Daniel J. Watts
The rap on this cut is a male one. I like it a lot, too. The music is mostly bass and guitar, bringing some great jazz and funk to the table.
Just When U Think feat LD
There are both male and female raps here. We get some kids singing on the choruses. This is high energy and so classy.
I Like It feat Yani Marin –
In both English and Spanish, this energized number is a lot of fun. It has a lot of Latin music in the mix, but plenty of funk and soul and jazz, too.

 

 
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