Statler & Waldorf
With their debut Sports, Anders Christophersen and Rasmus Møbius (aka Melk) convincingly show that Denmark-based hip-hop can be the equal of its American counterpart. Abetted by strong vocalists, MCs, and instrumentalists, the production duo drops twelve tight and polished head-nodders, most of them brimming with deep beats that slam and lope. Melk's style extends beyond hip-hop into dub and even soul, however, suggesting a stylistic kinship with Bus (though Melk's sound is more rooted in hip-hop). Instrumental cuts like “Smash” and the too-short “Interlude” feature sweetly splatting snares and, while cymbal shadings, muted trumpet, and electric piano open “Lego Love” in a jazzy mode, it too eases into a lurching, moog- and horn-flavoured groove. Further instrumental contrast arises in the hip-hop-dub fusion “Hummel,” which features some nice scratching by Tue Track (Malk De Koijn), and the steaming roots dub of “Barry.”
On the vocal side, “Game Over” (not
a Dabrye cover, incidentally) opens with crisp soul-funk before receiving a strong MC boost from Nobody Beats the Beats' Context; Melk even briefly pushes the track into a clavinet-laden dub zone. One-time Prince Po collaborator Gisli layers a biting flow over a beautiful rolling beat pattern in “Pink Slip” and then reappears alongside Ane Trolle's angelic voice in “Put Your Name On It.” In addition, a dramatic, pleading vocal from Bahamas-rooted Tuco distinguishes the dub-funk outing “Like Rock'n'Roll.” Sports
is a thoroughly convincing outing from Melk, even if it doesn't advance the genre in radically innovative manner (as releases by Dabrye and Prefuse 73, for example, have done). Møbius and Christophersen maintain strong musical continuity throughout while maximizing the contributions of their vocal and instrumental collaborators.