Album: Bringing It Home
Label: BUKA Entertainment
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
B.U.K.A. Entertainment is the Lone Catalysts’ imprint, and this compilation is the first in a series that pledges to shine the spotlight on artists from the LC’s stomping grounds in Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Cincinnati. Both Lone Catalysts, J.Rawls and J.Sands are credited with the executive production on this joint, and its evident that their hand has been on the tiller throughout due to the soulful feel of the majority of the tracks.
The laidback, musical style that has become J.Rawls production calling card is on display from the start of the album to the end, despite the fact that Rawls didn’t produce every track. Its obvious that his influence is rubbing off on his proteges – ‘Super Soul’ and ‘Rock My Shit’ by The 3rd, ‘Ra’ by Rhul Ave, and ‘In/Exhale’ by Afaliah Afelyone are all produced by Rashad, and feature that funky, soul-filled feel that was pioneered by The Roots, and progressed by DJ Hi-Tek, before J.Rawls picked up the baton. Elsewhere, other producers like Usef Dinero (who handles production for J-Live and D.Stroy) pop up to throw their little ingredients into the mix. As for the emcees on these tracks, and on the other cuts on the album – lets just say that whoever has been sleeping on Pittsburgh and Ohio better wake up. More on this later though…
As for the tracks produced by J.Rawls, the Lone Catalysts’ ‘On Course’ is the lead single and will be distributed by Rawkus (if its still around!) Its an uptempo banger, and despite its hotness, is actually a little out of character with the laidback feel of the majority of the album. Elsewhere, Rawls blesses Ze Man with a more “Rawls-like” track for ‘North 15212’, a simply contructed but infectious track that features some catchy bleeps and gurgles. ‘High Noon’ by K Mos completes J.Rawls trio of production tracks, and also features J.Sands and DL on mic duties. This track is so laidback, its almost horizontal and despite the macho chorus, still conjures up images of cold drinks by the pool on a hot day.
OK, so its obvious that the production is a major selling point for this compilation, but at the end of the day a hot beat gets stale pretty quickly if it stays as an instrumental. Fortunately the emcees featured here have two major things going in their favour – they’re hungry and they have some nice skills. These two factors coupled with the dope production means that in most cases the joints on here are pretty damn good.
The previously mentioned The 3rd is especially impressive, exuding confidence and a deadly flow on the tracks he appears on. Other standouts are the tongue twisting flows of Afaliah Afelyone, who is especially complimented by the jazzy beats from Rashad on her track, and O.Sharp who rhymed over his own DJ Premier-esque production for ‘Who’s The Illest’.
Without a doubt though, the strongest cut on here is ‘Surrender’ by BJ Digby aka Homeskillit, who you may be familiar with due to appearance on DJ Hi-Tek’s “Hi-Teknology”. Not only does this guy have one of the catchiest names I’ve heard for a long time, but he has some tremendous skills – coming off like a hardcore cross between Q-Tip and Extra P over a slamming beat produced by Usef Dinero. Definitely the highlight of a very good album.
Once again J.Rawls has proven to have the midas touch, and this is one you should definitely seek out and pick up when it hits the streets.