Gramatik – Street Bangerz Vol. 1 and 2
Gramatik is the best producer in hip hop that you’ve never heard of. I can’t imagine how badass the album would be if he teamed up with some premier hip hop MC’s here in the US – Wu-Tang Clan, Mos Def, Snoop Dogg, Talib Kweli, Aesop Rock, Common, Outkast, Black Thought, MF Doom, overdubbed Nortorious BIG, and the list goes on…
Find out more about Gramatik and do yourself a favor- set aside 10 minutes of your day and check out the sample mix of Street Bangerz Vol. 2 after the jump.
Good music is felt not heard. Slovenia’s premier hip-hop producer, Gramatik, apparently understood that at an early age of 3 when his mother used to catch him glued to the radio in his older sister’s room whenever there was an old funk or R&B joint on, tapping his foot on the floor along with the music. Damn, talk about a sign on what will your child do when he grows up…!
In 2006, Gramatik and 2 of his friends released their debut hip-hop album as a group called 5th Element, which was critically acclaimed throughout the country as one of the best hip-hop albums in Slovenia. After the album, Gramatik felt hip-hop just wasn’t enough, that he was limiting himself with doing only one genre while he enjoyed listening to so many others. He started producing house, techno, breakbeat, electronica, drum’n’bass, and basically any other genre that he liked with in roots blues, jazz, soul, and funk. He realized that music is much bigger than a specific genre- it’s all about embracing what moves you… He released his first ever track on Beatport in June 2008, an Electro House track remix he did for DJ Vitamin D entitled “Motherfuckers Know Who’s The Best.” The track ended up #24 on the Electro House Top 100 chart- a nice surprise and instant validation for this up-and-coming producer.
Soon after that, he ended up at #40 of the House Top 100 chart with his tribal banger “Letz Get Ill” while his Dreams About Her EP topped the Chill Out Top 100 chart for 3 weeks straight. Not long after his first release stroked the charts, Gramatik scrapped up a bunch of old hip-hop beats he had sitting in a flash player on his myspace for over 2 years and released them as an album. The album, titled Street Bangerz Vol.1, was released in December 2008 on the label Cold Busted. Little did he know that the album was gonna catapult straight to #1 on the Top 100 Chill Out chart and has been holding steady in the Top 20 ever since.
Street Bangerz Vol.1 has been a completely unexpected success, selling over 50,000 copies worldwide on Beatport alone. It made him realize that quite often, the things that you expect to work the least, usually work the best. Gramatik is now working on various projects while determined to keep up the Street Bangerz series, dropping one per year, and perfecting them volume after volume.
Gramatik’s Street Bangerz Vol. 2 is a collection of downtempo beats that music lovers will adore. Kicking it off are the polished, sonically ambitious tracks ‘The Culture,’ ‘Tearin’ It Up,’ and “Deal With The Real.’ Equally pleasing to our ears are more soulfully crafted tracks such as ‘Street Soul 101’ (recognize the sample?), ‘Boom Bap Reinstated,’ and ‘Lonely and Cold.’ Tracks like ‘What More Can I Say,’ ‘Makes Me Wonder,’ and ‘Don’t You Know’ are steamy, introspective, plush, and hypnotically soulful. It becomes evident, as you immerse yourself in the music, that familiar sounding loops and aptly manipulated beats are served up fresh and defy musical categorization.
Experimentation with other genres occurs in tracks like the classically inspired ‘Orchestrated Incident’ with violins sweetly purring over dope trip-hop beats, as well as ‘Hit That Jive’ a playful jazzy piece with groovy bass lines and a big band vibe. The alternating samba-thump of ‘Just Jammin‘ is interwoven with jazzy guitar forays, ragtime piano, swirling synthesizers, and a full brass section that make for an uplifting, head-bobbing musical experience. Check out the silky smooth rendition of BB King’s, ‘The Thrill Is Gone,’ sampled in the seductive track, ‘I’m Free.’
Street Bangerz Vol. 2 comes across as a dexterous mix of hip-hop beats heavily influenced by classical, jazz, blues, funk, and soul – making for a truly unique and impressive collection of music. This album is definitely one that you can put on, listen to from start to finish, hit repeat, hear something new again and again, and it never gets old.