We like to represent for those around us here at BC, but that doesn’t mean the odd release from further afield doesn’t deserve it’s shine. And as they say, variety is the spice of life. So coming from over the pond to give us just that, DMV-Area (which includes DC, Maryland and Virginia I’m told) MC Sean Armstrong’s latest album Marble Cake Diaries brings with it eighteen tracks of up front, funk fueled Hip Hop. Representing a classic sound from the area, his confident flow laces crunching breaks and up beat samples among plenty of soul tinted female vocals for a feel good album with an infectious head nod factor.
Tracks such as Took Control (featuring Tajai, of Souls of Mischief, and Tiji) with it’s bouncing drums, uplifting horns and catchy female hook and the lively scratches and cymbal crashes of No Worries provide a golden summertime sound that for me is where his sound’s it’s strongest. Like Rain however, shows he’s also capable of working with more left field beats, a skittery drum pattern and broken vocal samples encouraging a more broken flow, while he adopts a harder sound over the analogue reverb tinged snare of Wreck. Just Bars also takes the release into deeper territories over an emotive beat for another of the album’s gems.
An album that throws it’s net wide in terms of sound and vibe, it’s universally solid but definitely has it’s moments, particularly when Sean takes on a more happy, funky style in the aforementioned Took Control and No Worries as well as Baby, it’s clicks, thumping kicks and continuous piano providing another uplifting piece of soulful hip hop. However, he does show that he can adapt his flow to a wide range of beats and is equally capable of bringing rap swagger and attitude to a darker instrumental, while his wordplay and rhyme schemes are universally on point. A variety of skits give it the feel of a true album, making for a thoroughly enjoyable listen that will no doubt be the catalyst in many a foot tap. Listen below and go grab it from his Bandcamp.