If your song is featured on Peanut Butter Wolf’s documentary about his label, Stones Throw, you’re probably doing either Hip Hop or Old-School Funk/R&B really, really well.
To say that about Silk Rhodes would be an extreme understatement.
“Understatement” – that word actually fits Silk Rhodes perfectly. In a world where R&B, Hip Hop, Funk, and Soul are almost overwhelmed in arrangements and syths, (see: Mark Ronson’s, Uptown Funk for example) you can argue that Silk Rhodes are the response to that. Completely stripped of all superfluous bits of flair, the result brings groove and feel to the forefront. There’s nowhere to hide in some of these songs (specifically “Hold Me Down”) the vox, beat, and chords are all that exists in this groove – and for some reason, even with out a bass line, this song still breaks my neck even after the 4th or 5th listen.
You’re not going to throw this whole record on during a party and get a banger with every track – but really, you’re not going to do that with an Al Green record either.
There are a few up tempo disco grooves on here, “Face 2 Face” and “Personal Use” being some of the more notable selections, but this album lives in the margins.
The band tells it like so, via the Stones Throw website:
“It was very minimal, lending itself to vocal processing, looping and long-form meditative music [that we worked on] while crossing through the desert. After that tour we kind of just started living together in Baltimore, and continued to make music that way wherever we went. The responses we got around the city, as we picked up friends and strangers and would make songs for the people who happened to be on the street, were pretty amazing. The car, which was a ’97 Honda CRV, had pretty busted speakers. Using pitch-shifting, we got a sound that was very bass-heavy and attracted some incredible sidewalk audiences.”