Summery hip-hop blues.

After seven albums of hip-hop blues, G Love, a.k.a. Garrett Dutton, puts out an album that's a tribute of sorts to his thirteen year career. It just so happens that he has a bunch of talented friends he can ask to jam with him, so the new album is a groove laden collection of soulful hip-hop blues tracks featuring, alongside Special Sauce, the likes of Jack Johnson, Ben Harper and Blackalicious. The album may be a seriously collaborative affair, however even though you can hear the voices and styles of the other players filtering through, the record never looses its core sound, which is Smooth with a capital smoo and really easy on the ear.

The eclectic sound at the core of this album– the hip-hop tempered with the smooth, silky laid back blues brings to mind A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul in the late eighties/ early nineties. Nice light beats, and lyrically, nothing too heavy, just a batch of Summery funky tracks that make you want to chill out somewhere hot preferably with a cold beer in your hand. Stand out tunes are opener 'Ride' which is so laid back it's practically horizontal, this is followed up by the excellent 'Ain't That Right' which is really catchy and danceable. It's really hard not to like most of the tracks on the album because they're all so light and poppy, but with the added blues/soul tone which gives everything a bit more of an edge than just your standard poppy hip-hop tune.

Some tunes here are full on hip-hop, like 'Can't Go Back To Jersey', but many others have something extra like the seriously soulful 'Missing My Baby' or the funk driven 'Holla!' Donovan Frankenreiter features on 'Hot Cookin', Ben Harper lends his singer songwriter vibes and some slide guitar to the best track on the album 'Let The Music Play' alongside the gruff vocals of Marc Broussard and Jack Johnson is in full on acoustic party mode on 'Rainbow'. All in all a surprisingly varied mix up of styles and voices, but it's all pulled together skilfully to create a really cohesive blend of sounds.