A lot of press surrounding the Quakers project is focused around the fact that the core members of the group have some kind of link with Portishead (one being Geoff Barrow…). Yes, there are some resemblances here but don’t expect a rap version of Portishead. It’s an oversimplification and the real link is far more subtle.
That being said, what is it? It’s a producer album of cinematic rap music leaning towards brass and crackling vinyl sounds. As an example, think of last year’s Rapping with Paul White, the beats are a bit more minimal here thought. It’s not an easy thing to do, being simple without being simplistic but the omniscience of the big ensemble sound helps. And that’s the real link with Portishead’s music, the music is simple yet emotionally charged.
A word about the rappers here. Each track has its own collaborator. And you couldn’t even dream about hearing some of them on the same record. Grimey Detroit’s Guilty Simpson, New York indie guy Tone Tank, Cali militants Dead Prez, Pharcyde‘s Booty Brown, Phat Kat, Buff1, Prince Po, MED, Diverse, Aloe Blacc, Finale just to name a few. But there are also some names I didn’t recognize that are pretty impressive on track. Guys like Krondon & General Steele, Synato Watts or, my new favorite rapper, the Coin Locker Kid. And I can’t forget a really cool female MC by the name of Lyric Jones. Concerning rapping, it goes from hardcore street level thinking to abstract rhymes with a stop on old school party anthem. All is well done (or at least correctly done), that’s impressive for a record with so many MCs and so much of them being unknown. At 41 tracks (8 being instrumental skits), that makes at least 30 MCs but the record doesn’t seem to our ears like a compilation because the music is on the same path on all the way. Pretty impressive production wise.
A instant classic on Stones Throw. 41 tracks!!