Brown Co. “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood”

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Fridays are good enough. But today I was on a mission to come home from work and bump some tunes…Tuesdays may be new music releases, but Fridays are typically the days I like to unwind and bump the new joints. Today I’ve been spinning the new Pete Philly & Perquisite, Mystery Repeats and even newer, Brown Co.’s Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood. The latter I’ve gotten into quite quickly.

Brown Co. follows a pretty standard hip hop formula. It consists of emcees Haji P & Dundee (North Carolina) and production featuring DJ MF Shalem & Rezo. It all appears to be pretty standard hip hop, and in a way, their approach to music is as well…which is what I’m really feelin’. Tracks like “Ready on The Left” features some classic hip hop references (“We double, b-b-bubblin’ hot”). Brown Co. definitely approaches hip hop from a perspective in which the music is primary. “Who’s that” sounds like it may tap into the same sample used by Beyonce on “Upgrade You” (if that is indeed the track name) but for Brown Co. works like a light, party track, again imbuing some old school love, using Tribe’s “Who’s that?!…Brown…” from “Scenario” in the hook. But these guys really hit the jack pot on in sample selection on “Saturday Night,” using Q-Tip’s “Saturday” from De La’s “A Roller Skate Joint Named ‘Saturday'”. And while these two samples I’ve highlighted are used minimally, simply comprising parts of the hook, their selection means more to me than how their utilized.

Overall, Haji P & Dundee keep the album pretty light and enjoyable. There is no perpetuation of drugs, sex, money or violence. And save for tracks like “Eat At Whitey’s,” the subject matter does not get too abstact either – they find a medium that makes for an enjoyable album without sounding dumbed down. It’s worth noting, “Eat At Whitey’s” reminds me of something off “3 Feet High & Rising.” As does the track that follows, “I’m Brown,” a light foray into the color of their skin. This track sort of works like a more fun companion to Mos & Kweli’s “Astronomy (8th Light)”:

I’m brown like the leaves in fall season/when it’s convenient I’m brown for all the right reasons/affirmative action, equal opportunity, with any nationality, it mix together beautifully…I’m not afraid of the ultraviolet rays, cause I’m brown enough to fight it

One of my favorite parts of the albums comes at the end, where Haji P is having a phone conversation with his mom; when he asks her to say that he’s gangster, she replies: “But you’re not.” Hilarious.

It’s always nice to listen to an album that lacks the pretention and image-heavy packaging that hip hop tends to perpetuate. That’s my piece for right now…enjoy.

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