Quakers – Quakers (Stones Throw Records)


Quakers

The first album from hip-hop collective Quakers is all about sprawl. Led by a production team of Fuzzface (aka Geoff Barrow of Portishead), Katalyst (aka Australian producer Ashley Anderson) and 7STU7 (Portishead studio engineer Stuart Matthew) their debut is a globe-spanning collaboration between over 35 international rappers and producers, with a ridiculously ambitious 41-song tracklist. Yes, trying to find cohesion among so many vastly different parts isn’t always easy, and the gigangtic scope means a few weaker tracks made it onto the final product. However, Quakers “peaks and valleys” approach is meant to be messy, and it’s meant to give you a mixtape-like sampling of what’s going on in underground hip-hop around the world right now. It makes perfect sense for the album to be released via Stones Throw, as Barrow and his cohorts seem well-versed in the label’s freewheeling aesthetic, and almost frequent disregard for the rules of what makes a successful hip hop record. There’s also guest appearances from Stones Throw regulars M.E.D., Guilty Simpson, Aloe Blacc and the influence of Madlib and J-Dilla is readily apparent in Quakers’ psychedelic boom-bap productions and all those wigged-out samples. A lot of the rappers come off well (Jonwayne, Frank Nitty, Prince Po and King Magnetic all throw down memorable verses), and a few miss the mark (Coin Locker Kid and Tone Tank won’t be confused for Rakim and Guru) but even when the raps are weak, the beats are still top-notch and you have to respect the fact that Quakers didn’t go the obvious route of working with a bunch of big-name rappers or heroes from decades ago. While we’re rating rapper’s performances, I should mention that absolutely nobody on the record out-rhymes Detroit rapper Guilty Simpson, who mauls “War Drums” and completely slays everybody on “Fitta Happier” where the calm menace of his cadence and flow sound absolutely perfect over a beat brilliantly constructed from samples of marching bands playing Radiohead’s “Optimistic” and “National Anthem”. Not only is it the album’s best song, but it’s the most exhilirating hip-hop song of the past few years.

Tracklist:

01. Intro

02. Big Cat (feat. Synato Watts)

03. Fitta Happier (feat. Guilty Simpson and M.E.D.)

04. Smoke (feat. Jonwayne)

05. The Lo

06. Russia With Love (feat. Coin Locker Kid)

07. What Chew Want (feat. Tone Tank)

08. Flapjacksmm

09. Jobless (feat. Quite Nyce)

10. Sidewinder (feat. Buff 1)

11. Mummy (feat. Diverse)

12. Belly of the Beast (feat. Emilio Rojas)

13. Up the Rovers

14. The Turk: King Magnetic

15. There It Is (feat. Raydar Ellis and Quite Nyce)

16. RIP 17. I Like To Dance (feat. Krondon and General Steele)

18. Dark City Lights (feat. Frank Nitty)

19. The Beginning (feat. Coin Locker Kid)

20. Kreem

21. War Drums (feat. Phat Kat and Guilty Simpson)

22. R.A.I.D. (feat. Lyric Jones)

23. Fresh

24. Something Beautiful

25. Chicken Livers (feat. FC the Truth)

26. Rock My Soul (feat. Prince Po)

27. Lost and Found (feat. Estee Nack)

28. My Mantra (feat. Dave Dub)

29. Hunnypots of Beeswax

30. TV Dreaming (feat. Booty Brown)

31. Don’t Make It Worthless

32. Soul Power (feat. Dead Prez)

33. Glide

34. Get Live (feat. Coin Locker Kid)

35. Sign Language (feat. Aloe Blacc)

36. Earth Quaking (feat. Akil)

37. You’re Gonna Be Sorry

38. Outlaw (feat. Deed)

39. The Tax Man (feat. Sareem Poems)

40. Chucky Balboa (feat. Silverust)

41. Oh Goodness (feat. Finale)