Sound Advice: Something Forever: Special Edition by Slakah the Beatchild
Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best—or sometimes just the biggest—of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.
Much like real estate divorce specialists these days, Slakah the Beatchild’s 2010 EP Something Forever has been in crazy high demand. So much so that the Juno-winning producer/composer/singer/sometimes rapper figured he may as well release a special edition of the record with four additional bonus tracks (via BBE). Sure, re-issues are usually pointless, but this one makes sense. Besides, it sounds intensely sensuous, like melted chocolate on your chest and neck.
Cutting his teeth over the years helming tracks for the likes of Drake, Divine Brown, and his own project Art of Fresh, Slakah (a. k. a. Byram Joseph) has become quite the adroit beatsmith. Hypnotic, soul-inflected hip hop of the J Dilla variety is his trip. The work of the late James Dewitt Yancey looms heavily over Something Forever’s production, from its starry-skied soundscapes (“When The Night Stood Still”) to its liquid-smooth keys (“Living For The Rush”) to its never-ending jazz chord progressions (title track).
Slakah is of course not the first crate-digger to take notes from the Dilla canon (see also: 9th Wonder, Just Blaze, Kanye West), but his beats are perhaps the most low key. Rather than punching a hole in your speaker, his crisp kicks and snares aim to gently soundtrack your workweek wind-down/after-hours club chill out/dube cruise comedown. The record’s tranquil vibe owes much to Slakah’s pipes; he traverses matters of love and addiction via unflappable flows and sanguine croons, slinging Raphael Saadiq–like soul on heart-wrenching slow burner “Illusions” and channeling Pharrell’s falsetto on the Neptunes-esque head-nodder “Down.”
The four bonus tracks blend seamlessly into the disc, making it feel like a complete, well-rounded LP. “D.A.N.C.E.” (streaming above) effortlessly flips a sample of Minnie Riperton’s “Inside My Love” into a laid-back party jam, while serious album closer “War Within,” featuring Ebrahim and Swedish soul singer Tingsek, recalls Slum Village’s introspective hushed funk. Far from a cash grab, this re-release is something you’ll keep in rotation, like, forever.