Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hot Promo Action - Baby Elephant

Baby Elephant is the latest collaborative effort to emerge from the mind of hip hop legend Prince Paul. A quick primer in case you don't know; he was an original member of Stetasonic. He produced De La Soul's debut (and invented the oft maligned hip hop skit in the process) and parts of their next two records. He then went on to form the Gravediggaz with RZA, Frukwan and Too Poetic. In the late '90s he helmed Handsome Boy Modeling School with Dan The Automator. In between he found time to release a few solo LPs as well as do production work on records by Vernon Reid, Princess Superstar and MC Paul Barman. According to this interview there has been bad blood between him and Dan The Automator, so there will be no more Handsome Boy Modeling School albums.

Which brings us to Baby Elephant, a trio comprised of Paul, his long time pal Newkirk, and eccentric keyboard mastermind and two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bernie Worrell (P-Funk, Talking Heads). According to the bio "These two legends met while promoting the Worrell documentary "Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth", and they hit it off immediately. Together with Worrell, Prince Paul was able to create the funk/soul album that has been dancing in his head all of these years." The resulting album is a showcase for Worrell's talents. He plays an array of vintage keyboards, synthesizers and pianos, as well as adding his oft-imitated (and sampled) string sections and Moog bass lines. As with all Prince Paul collabos there are some other notable talents on display here; singer/comedian Reggie Watts, Yellowman, George Clinton, Digital Underground's Shock G, DJ Roc Raida, Nona Hendryx and David Byrne all contribute. The resulting album is funny, warm, quirky, funky and filled with killer keys over hip hop beats. There are plenty of familiar vibes and even a bit of reggae. And of course there are skits. I am really digging it's diversity and funkiness and unique sound. Today I offer two cuts to sample; How Does The Brain Wave? is a semi-reunion of several members of the seminal Talking Heads lineup of the early '80s, with David Byrne and Nona Hendryx on vocals. The track also features DJ Roc Raida on the ones and twos. It is loopy space funk, filled with blips and bleeps and some of those great key sounds you remember from 20 years ago. Fred Berry is a great instrumental, a bit more uptempo funk than the rest of the LP - you can really feel the spirit of P-Funk at work here! The album is due to drop on September 11th so be sure to pick one up!

No comments: