1. Return of the Dig-Fu 03:15
2. The Wheelie Champion Sound 04:05
3. Think It All 04:34
4. We Do Anything feat. Taiwan MC 04:11
5. One Two One Two 03:20
6. Rock Your Boat 03:57
7. A Beautiful Days 03:37
8. One Free 04:13
9. Never Say Play Me 06:14
About RacecaR :
Chicago-born MC RacecaR started rhyming at the end of the 80s. After more than 20 years of touring and recording in the US, he moved to Paris in 2010 and started a whole new musical life. With both knockout performances and acclaimed featurings with bands & artists such as Afro Latin Vintage Orchestra, Dafuniks, Sax Machine, Soul Square, Taiwan MC; with producers and beatmakers such as Asagaya, Blanka, DJ Suspect & Doc TMK, ICBM, Lawkyz, Mattic, Son Of A Pitch; RacecaR is one of the most in-demand hip hop MCs in France. For sure we're missing a few other cool cats in that list, but you get the point : every musician who meets RacecaR over here understands very quickly how tight his flow goes, how masterfully his rhymes are delivered, and how in any kind of context he's able to fit in with style.
A hard-working abundantly talented rhymester, RacecaR has now been living a pure hip hop life for the last two decades. One of the coolest hip hop cats in the French capital, he's relentlessly touring but in a constant state of rap, writing & rehearsing whenever he can. RacecaR' open-mindedness and friendly Native Tongues attitude got him to collaborate with more and more multi-instrumentalists/producers, among which Etienne de la Sayette, on the opening track from his "Maputo Queens" album released last may, and Grant Phabao, the French label's in-house producer and sound engineer, on a handful of digital singles — all released on Paris DJs.
About Grant Phabao :
After pumpin' house hit singles for the Pro-Zak Trax label at the end of the 1990s, Grant Phabao grew to be a prime purveyor of Jamaican Soul, wether labeled "ska", "bluebeat", "rocksteady", "reggae", "dub" etc. After releasing albums with Jamaican legends Carlton Livingston, The Lone Ranger, The Jays or The Silvertones, and remixes for the whole planet, from George Clinton to Alice Russell, from David Byrne and Chuck D to Shawn Lee, from Jurassic 5 to Monophonics… he kept on evolving, and started producing Jazz, Funk, Soul, and African music, working with the likes of Ebo Taylor, Tony Allen, Oghene Kologbo, Antibalas, The Souljazz Orchestra, Brownout or Franck Biyong, among others.
With the Paris DJs label, he managed to cross the rigid boundaries of music categorization with an astonishing quantity of releases in many styles, while developing a high-order mastery in reggae, ska and afrofunk.
Working Together :
RacecaR & Grant Phabao met at Paris DJs' studio in 2014, thanks to an introduction from hip hop activist Miska with whom the French label has been doing hip hop-themed compilations. They decided to try something new together. Grant Phabao had never produced any hip hop artist before. And RacecaR had never tried to write and record on afro, funk or reggae music in the past. So they planned to produce new tunes together, and blend RacecaR's unmistakable flow with Phabao's unique take on deeply funky American, African and Jamaican grooves.
The goal of Grant Phabao and RacecaR's collaboration was not from day one to be in competition with their other projects, or to jump on the beatmaking bandwagon, but instead to explore where both of their musical worlds could meet. What if they tried recording one's hip hop rhymes over the other's reggae, ska, afro, jazz or funk productions ? Exploring some new rare grooves with rhyming and rapping, is uncharted waters in terms of tempo for a boom-bap aficionado ! indeed there's no boom bap here, no maverick beats, no wonky, no wobble — all breaks, skanks, drops and more polyrhythmics. The word was : "let's turn our worlds upside down, and make something different together".
The album track-by-track :
"Return Of The Dig-Fu" was the duo's first single, boldly subtitled 'Hip Hop Meets Afrofunk', it's a 'Let's play it again' versus ' I need this for my set' kind of tune. With rhymes evoking the digger's lust for the rare groove in vinyl inside all of us, this is an unstoppable afro-funk-hip-hop monster, compiled in the first Paris DJs funk/soul selection "Killas, Thrillas & Chillas".
"Champion Sound" is one long ride, full blast, featuring some storming sax riffs & solo by Saké from Les Frères Smith. Over a dancefloor-heavy pompin' ska number, RacecaR is relentless, rhyming at high velocity. Be warned, crowds will be jumping all over the place to the sound of this.
"Think It all" smoothes thing a little bit after this double explosion. On a 33% funk, 33% jazz and 33% dub instrumental, RacecaR recalls a Jurassic 5 vibe which should appeal to many fans of post-golden age grooves.
Slowing things down, "We Do Anything" is another kind of different blend, with the lyricist's groovy rhymes recorded over one of Grant Phabao's heavy one drop reggae riddims, and featuring Parisian activist from the Chinese Man label Taiwan MC on guest vocals. A true Jamaican singer in the heart, Taiwan adds a catchy hook to the tune and the resulting track is pure, burning, smokin', cookin' music.
The voyage in a sea of styles is far from over though, as RacecaR has now to face a psychedelic funk whirlwind with heavy stompin' & swingin' beats ! Borrowing its chorus from Canadian MC & friend Jeff Spec, "One Two One Two" sees our MC in great shape, delivering expertly crafted verses one after the other. It seems as if he could even confront a tropical storm now… but that's a story to be told on Paris DJs later on.
Opening the b-side and previously only available as a T-shirt single ( !), "Rock Your Boat" is a new smashing hip hop/afrofunk monster tune featuring keyboard maestro Soul Sugar. Some heavily funky hybridization bizness !
Originally recorded over a Gene dudley Group instrumental but rejected by his label, RacecaR's "A Beautiful Days", in a bubbling psychedelic funk Grant Phabao dressing, is maybe the poppiest song the man ever sung. Because sometimes we just like things catchy as hell, it's as simple as that.
"One Free" then sees the American MC laying a thick rap, moving on and around the beat, over a deep & dubby, slow & stripped-down early 80s dancehall style riddim from the French producer and multi-instrumentalist. The vibe is laidback, smokey, while tropical and hip. A pure stoner tune in the "play it again, Sam" category.
"Never Say Play Me" closes the album on a unexpected John Barry/James Bond kind of cinematic jazz vibe, with thick horn & string layers, some spacey guitar solo, a shuffling rhythm and a whole lot of suspens.
All tracks written by RacecaR, excepted "We Do Anything" written by Racecar & Taiwan MC
All tracks composed by Grant Phabao, excepted "Rock your Boat" composed by Grant Phabao & Guillaume Méténier
Vocals by RacecaR, excepted "We Do Anything", vocals by Racecar & Taiwan MC
All instruments, recording, mix and mastering by Grant Phabao at Paris DJs studio
Excepted "Rock your Boat", Rhodes & Vox Continental by Guillaume Méténier aka Soul Sugar, and "Champion" Sound, saxophone by Saké Smith
Published by T.I.M.E.C.
Illustrated by Ben Hito
© 2016 T.I.M.E.C./Paris DJs