featured REVIEW


Visionaries We Are The Ones Up Above • 2006

Ever since we heard (and saw) the first single 'All We Need', we had visions of this album being one of this Fall’s hottest releases. And how could it not? LA’s 6-head Visionaries crew, consisting of 2Mex, LMNO, Lord Zen, Dannu, KeyKool and DJ Rhettmatic, have been evaporating hip-hop’s indie scene with a fresh breath of Pacific West Coast air since their 1997 release 'Galleries' or as LMNO raps; 'Been buzzing before it was even possible to go on-line and upload our audible’.

'All We Need' is that kind of tune that pumps you up, totally revitalising you and making you feel glad about the fact that you chose hip-hop as your favourite music genre. The irregular drum pattern and the swirling strings of DJ Khalil knit the uplifting lyrics perfectly, with LMNO 'the relief is here, it’s the clean-up committee’ and 2Mex 'they don’t need a ice dentist they just need to put together a nice sentence' in a glance role, snappin at commercial acts like never before. Chronicles of growing up in LA and listening to early West Coast ànd East Coast rap are displayed in the second single release of the album, 'In The Good', while the late great Dilla fixed the beat for 'All Right', which doesn’t remind of most of Jay Dilla’s discography, but reflects more the overall sound of 'Donuts' with a modest bass line, easy drums, some nice trumpet loops and a great sped-up soul voice.

When you say Visionaries, you say old school. Celebrating the Ways of Before in lyrics and production like 'Crop Circles' (production by Polyhedron), with swift drums and peculiar hi-hats, imitating battering on pots and pans and reminding of a lunch break beatbox session. The enchanting, cheerful 'Do Gooders' with a mystic feature of Miss Georgia Anne Muldrow and the eerie guitars make the first twenty minutes of this album legendary and prevail an unconditional classic. However some songs of the remaining tracklist not sound as consistent and entertaining, unlike highlights such as the sparkling, piano-infested 'This Here', and the posse cut 'Need To Learn', where all old school names who make a comeback this year (Brother J, YZ, RBX) join in with Rakaa Iriscience of Dilated Peoples and Harlem hero Sadat X. All of a sudden, the Stop The Violence movement seems to be resurrected, while Madlib handles the beats.

This time, Visionaries have invited more people from outside the crew, trying to create an overall sound with multiple influences, both East Coast and West Coast-orientated. Of all their albums, this is their most untypical, but an ideal opportunity to invite other hip-hop fans to the adventurous, creative, positive as well as left-wing orientated that 'We Are The Ones' really is. That's all we need this Fall, so far...

POSTED ON 10|30|2006 by cpf

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