If Mike Jones is your idea of a good time in the world of hip-hop, then just stop reading now. It is highly unlikely that anyone down with Colossus will mind. Charlie Tate, a six feet eight inch British man, is the bloke behind Colossus. And instead of just name checking influences like Roy Ayers and Gil Scott Heron, Tate, now living and producing in Oakland, carries the spirit of these soul legends completely forward into the hip-hop world. Don’t expect crunk. There exists no chopped and screwed. The only thing you’ll find on Colossus’ new album, West Oaktown, is soul, funk and jazz fused together in a delicious beat stew.
“You A Grown Man Now” featuring UK MC Roots Manuva shows Colossus’ complete grasp of compliments. The thick, twangy upright bass sounds provide the perfect bed for Manuva’s staccato; a gruff but inviting flow to float over. While other guests like Capitol A, Delphi and Regi B are all talented MCs in their own right, when Manuva’s voice appears, he takes Colossus’ beats to another
world-a warm, happy, head-bobbing, mind-relaxing world.
Lyrically, the rhymes are standard “intelligent hip-hop” affairs, bemoaning the commercial success of fake MCs and other typical topics. Yet, the beats themselves sound so fresh by sounding so dated that the rhymes take a seat way in the back.
Included with the album is a bonus remix disc that adds more punch to the tracks and allows Colossus to show off a different style of production. These beats are more in line with the Jurassic 5 and People Under The Stairs type beats. While the original album would be the perfect backdrop for a chilled dinner party, the remix album is what needs to be dropped when all the liquor starts kicking in. Don’t expect any of West Oaktown to make major waves in the mainstream, but any discerning hip-hop fan, DJ, or aficionado of music will want to add this album to their collection when it drops on Oct. 11.
Is this the hip-hop album of the year? Kanye still has that title locked down as of yet. West Oaktown is still an album of the highest quality, and one that actually may stand the test of time better than most hip-hop releases getting all the accolades these days.