Thursday, April 30, 2015
Cassette Review: Sardashhh "ok.keys"
[$6 // Edition of 40 // https://sardashhh.bandcamp.com/album/ok-keys]
The first thing I notice about Sardashhh is that the name has three h's at the end of it. This strikes me as something someone would do if they ended their name with the letter "x" because then they could be the "Bawston Redd Soxxx" or something like that. You know, "xxx". Ha-ha-ha. It's clever if you think of Korn as being "edgy". But the three h's do remind me of Triple H, the wrestler, who also goes by HHH. And of course that takes me back to when Bam Bam Bigelow was in WCW and wanted to be Triple B (or "BBB") but HHH and the WWE quickly put a legal stop to it.
In any event, "oh.keys" begins with an audio clip and pianos. It is pleasant with almost guitar type of tones which turn into beats. I'm not sure what subgenres exist in "wave" form, as I'm a bit out of the scene there (I used to listen to everything under the 8bit and vaporwave banner when I had time for more digital reviews, but alas I have since found my place with cassettes) so I will give this my new "wave" genre for music I don't know what "wave" genre to place them into and simply call it somethingwave.
An audio clip of laughing takes us into a strong piano lead with beats. I'm not sure when the idea of putting piano or keys of any kind with beats came about, maybe rappers have been doing it forever, but I do like it. This takes me into a sound that I feel is somewhere between Black Sheep, Digable Planets and of course A Tribe Called Quest. The first rap song I ever learned all of the words to was "Scenario" by Tribe and I remember using my skills to impress my friends on the playground.
Piano notes exchange back and forths like an ambulance siren and little horns and beats come out next like that "Rump Shaker" song and, yes, that is my fourth reference to a hip hop artist I had on cassette growing up. Somehow, Side A manages to come to a close with just flat out sax riffs and bubbles. Now I'd say I've listened to just about every type of guitar style out there- rock, country, blues, etc.- and though I am trained to play the saxophone I never thought of it as having riffs before hearing this cassette. (And that's fifth grade strong, son)
Side B opens up with some rapping which takes us from that instrumental hip hop wave [Editor's Note: "ihhwave" sounds bad, don't use that] into what I can only once again compare to Q-Tip. There are a lot of pianos that begin to remind me of 2Pac (He did use pianos with his beats, didn't he? I answered my earlier question myself, didn't I?) and then there are even more audio clips and piano progressions. Only fitting, the cassette ends with an audio clip that says "You figure it out! I'm getting out of here".
Even though I felt for the beginning part of this cassette that it had what I dubbed that somethingwave sound, I think overall it just tips its hat to the days of hip hop old. I'm not going to speak for Sardashhh on this because that wouldn't be fair, but to me I feel like this is that nod to old school hip hop in the way that it's a tribute but also a reflection. It's in many ways the means by which to say what has needed to be said for more than a few years now and that is simply how ridiculous hip hop has become on a mainstream level.
So if you ever want to know what hip hop was like before Kanye and Wacka Flocka Fozzy Bear type of rappers took it over and have made a mockery of it (my opinion, not yet fact), but you don't feel like tracking down all of the great hip hop cassettes from years past, just grab this Sardashhh one and you'll have an idea of what I'm talking about when I sit on my front porch as an old man and say, "Back in my day, hip hop used to be good".