Instrumental hip-hop isn’t an easy genre to penetrate this day and age. My first exposure to the genre was Prefuse 73. Back in 2003 One Word Extinguisher dropped and I fell in love with the cutting edge production. The album still sounds great. Back then digital production was still in its infancy compared to what you can do now.
A lot of hip hop guys were using MPC’s but arrival of programs like Ableton Live have made everything easier. More and more people were making beats because it frankly wasn’t hard to do anymore. As time progressed and the market became oversaturated only artists who were a step ahead of the curve like Flying Lotus would be able to captivate the conscious minds of a substantial amount of people. This brings me to Mike Price. Price is an artist from Detroit, MI, who has been making music since 1998.
With a minimal setup he recently released AVGVSTVS. After taking a listen I’d say this is a solid above average Instrumental hip-hop. Does AVGVSTVS take production to a new level of artists to aspire to? No, but I’d say this is an album that fans of artists like Flying Lotus, Prefuse 73, etc. will appreciate because of the diversity and attention to detail.
Thankfully, Price has done his homework and keeps things interesting throughout the songs. He switches up time, has the ability to take your focus away from one focal instrument and also finds a couple of catchy melodic phrases.
The songs are short, like vignettes. With almost any other genre I wouldn't appreciate the brevity but with this genre I think it works. The album works as a cohesive whole starting with “Nana” which is chill, relaxing wave which transitions into the smooth lounge act called “Groove Theory.”
Price isn’t afraid to get experimental as we hear on “Animals Alone.” Birds chirp above as if you at the zoo while the bass line slithers back and forth before the atmospheric pads.”Sunderful” is a meatier track and also one that sounded most reminiscent of Prefuse 73. As the album progressed I thought “Summer Fling” and “Clues 2” were highlights.
Does Price has what it takes to become one of the select few who has “made it” in instrumental hip-hop? Maybe but in this day and age you need to know how to market yourself with a little bit of luck. Something that more and more try and do.
Overall, AVGVSTVS contains a solid collection of songs that do the genre justice.
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