Recently there’s been a lot of talk about the death of hip-hop. Truth be told, the artform is really only dead on the radio; elsewhere it is vibrate, alive, thriving, and still being explored for its fullest potential.
Case in point, the Cali crew Destruments—whose new album Seeds of Soul showcases the groups love of hip-hop; as well as funk, soul, jazz, and other Black music that make you feel something inside. The kicker here is, though they use an occasional sample, these guys actually play instruments!
Destruments is made up of three white guys—kind of reminds you of some others who’ve had a great impact on this thing called hip-hop—who came together for the love of the music and play everything from upright bass and Hammond organ, to guitar and clavinet. The players, Sean Willson (bass and percussion), Jesse Kramer (drums, congas, and vocals), and Kelly Finnegan (piano, Fender Rhodes, synths, MPC, vocals and more) hail from the sunny shores of California, unlike the father’s of Licensed To Ill, who honed their love of the Big Apple in the Burroughs.
These new guys have taken a cue from their forefathers and crafted an album that is innovative and eclectic, yet funky and easy to listen to. Songs such as the slithery suggestive nature of “Coolin’ Out” or the improvised vibe of “Soul Traveler” range in influence from James Brown to Hendrix, with vocals that are reminiscent of Michelle N’Degeacello, as well as US3. There is also some late ‘60s, early ‘70s Sly Stone Psychedelic Funk present in “PickelSkins for Ma,” while “Houndstooth” nails its Blaxploitation influence with rhythmic guitars and syncopated percussion.
It’s not perfect, especially if you like a little more MC with your music, but it’s pretty darn close. And, if nothing else, it’s a great album to have for summertime gatherings (i.e. family reunions), and cruisin’ on the avenue.