First and foremost when I listen to a record, specifically Hip Hop, I am looking for a banging beat. I need some hard as hell drums, a catchy sample and hook, and then the head nodding begins. I’m not talking about a four bar loop that gets played for three and a half minutes, but I like to hear something different. Impress me, please. Depending on how I’m feeling, it could be some over there shit like Edan the Humble Magnificent uses, or maybe some classic joints that Tommy Mas flipped for the Dr. Lecter record. It could even be the straight up Jazz that Tip flipped for many a Tribe record. If I had to choose one, I’d prefer my beats Jazz influenced. Here’s where the reissue of Pseudo Intellectuals Resourceful Illery comes into place. I am impressed, and you will be too. Originally dropped in 2008, this Buffalo, NY trio consisting of producer Tone Atlas, Nick Zero, and DJ Cutler has just released a deluxe, 180g vinyl package with five unreleased tracks on it. Atlas has been making solid beats for a minute, while Zero has been active in the Buffalo Hip Hop scene. DJ Cutler, in this writer’s opinion, is one of the most under rated DJs out there. He has already been featured in a Big Ups interview and if you haven’t heard some of his mixes, you surely are missing out. From start to finish, this double album does not disappoint, much like The French Connection didn’t while racking up goal after goal at the Memorial Auditorium. Sample wise, this Hip Hop and Jazz nerdfest will quench the thirst of anyone who is a fan of both genres and beyond. Atlas is superb at flipping Jazz bass lines, Red Foxx vocal snippets, and all kinds of quirky samples that go well with the spitting of weird throwback sports references, Golden Age Rap tracks, and whatever else came across the mic on the mantle of the studio at the time. The beats on a whole remind me of groups the Sound Providers (but better) and Digable Planets (minus the obvious JB samples) with Kid Koala like cuts and close to the Northern border, meticulously made audio collages that are better than most out there.
“And most of all, you’ll hear plenty of what is lacking in a lot of music today, perhaps because attempting to deploy it often comes out as contrived: the concept of having fun.”- Irv Funkenstein, Media Assassin
Not only do Pseudo Intellectuals draw from influential, classic Hip Hop artists and culture, they are deeply steeped in cut and paste philosophy with their sampling while giving a nod to the backpackers like Atmosphere as well as MC Paul Barman (even if they don’t know it). It is obvious that these three love this music, but after all is said and done, they just want to have fun. Isn’t that what it’s all about? When it stops being fun and seems too much like a job, the creativity starts to wane, and maybe you’d rather watch Bob Mc Adoo Braves highlights, or just go to Record Theater and dig up a copy of a Public Affairs Records 45. You’d do anything to avoid work. This trio seems like they were having fun while making this record. Whether it was paying homage to Low End Theory with a “Date Rap” tune or to a plethora of Jazz cats, who themselves were just playing music and having fun decades earlier, the sound they built for Resourceful Illery is still enjoyable 5 years later. Intellectual raps + tight beats + pure fun is not a bad way to go through life. When most of the Hip Hop music industry is waving glow sticks and inserting sirens throughout, these three are drinking beer, playing Halo, and building a foundation for resouceful illery, aka this record. Pseudo Intellectuals go back to the basics with smooth flows, we got the Jazz beats, and an attitude a lot of artists should have today: do you and enjoy life. Plus, any band that samples The Squid and the Whale while name checking sleestaks are pretty ok in my book.
Buy the reissue Deluxe Package here.
Check them out on Facebook.