Its been a while since Color Plus released his last EP, Cerulean Dream, and since then he has been up to a number of different things, releasing two EP’s with Chef the Chef under the name Ghost Row. For most of the songs for Ghost Row, Color Plus toned down the thick ambience and airy nature of his solo music, but now on Key Lime, it is back in full force. His production style is just as distinctive as ever, stretching out vocal samples in a number of different ways to form gorgeous backdrops with extremely well produced drums over them. Although Color Plus’ choice in drum sounds can often draw many connections to trap music, his production style as a whole completely transcends the genre in an extremely impressive way that I can’t think of many producers who are capable of. Stream one of my favorite tracks off of the EP below, and the whole thing after the jump.
It’s no secret that Madvillainy is one of the most highly regarded releases in abstract and underground hip-hop and something that has left an incredible mark on the face of hip-hop today. On that perfect album, my favorite track has always been “Fancy Clown” so I was honestly skeptical when I saw that Ghost Row spitter Chef the Chef was taking on the beat. I’m happy that I can say that Chef handles the beat exactly how he should, with reverence for the original and a lightheartedness to let listeners know that he isn’t trying to challenge MF DOOM’s (as Viktor Vauhgn) original verse either. Listen, donate, spread the word.
Despite the lack of a rich hip-hop scene coming from Connecticut, Ghost Row continue to earn the title of CT’s finest with their newest track “Curtain Call”. Ever since their first mixtape, Chef and Color Plus have only been getting better at melding their styles and Cheap Thrillz showed off an incredibly confident Chef with the ability to create effortlessly memorable hooks. ”Curtain Call” is another showcase for Chef as lyricist with an understated and ambient beat from Color Plus. Chef doesn’t disappoint with plenty of witty lyricism and memorable lines: “trippy so the hippies be saying I’m far out”. ”Curtain Call” was recorded for our Newtown tribute compilation Nutmeg State of Mind and gives the indie-rock heavy listen a much appreciated hip-hop detour. Listen, donate, spread the word.
Over the course of 2012, Connecticut’s own Color Plus became one of our favorite young producers and is the beat maker behind CT’s finest hip-hop duo Ghost Row. On his latest track “Tentacle Headlock”, Color Plus steps away from the ambient trap-tinged style that has defined his style for a murky synth led beat accented with howling wolves and 808s. Appropriate for the stylistic detour, the track features UK’s “apocalyptic synth junkie” Joey Prolapse. Prolapse’s flow conforms to the anxiety ridden vibe of the beat with a dead pan flow that hovers between absolute confidence and crazed lunacy. The Final Fantasy 7 reference is only an added bonus.
Color Plus is no stranger to producing instrumentals for rappers, that’s his role in Ghost Row which has consistently been putting out great tracks, but Color Plus’ beats in the project differed from his solo work. To fit Chef’s style in Ghost Row, Color Plus toned pack the heavy atmospherics of his work on Cerulean Dreamand it worked really well, but for a Sidewalk Kal, a rapper who seems to have an affinity for experimental beats, Color Plus decided to bring the ambience back. The beat for “BLEU” has heavily reverbed and manipulated guitar strumming that recalls tracks like “Only.You” and Kal’s relatively energetic vocals sit on top of it perfectly, adding to the beautiful contrast in energy Color Plus likes to create between his drum tracks and his instrumentation. Over the past few weeks Sidewalk Kal has been releasing tracks prolifically featuring beats from some of the best beatmakers on Soundcloud, and I don’t know if he’s planning on putting them all into one project or not, but for now its definitely worth it to follow his Soundcloud Page.
When Ghost Row dropped their Elevator Muzik mixtape earlier this year it was a success in vision of sound and vibe similar to ASAP Rocky’s LIVELOVEA$AP from 2011. It’s not that the two mixtapes share much sonically, however, both mixtapes are a success because they found producer and rapper working together to synthesize a coherent and captivating sound that could have only been possible with both involved parties. Elevator Muzik had Chef the Chef (and occasionally Sidewalk Kal) flowing over beats from future-trap prodigy Color Plus that resulted in several standouts that didn’t require the rappers to demolish the beats as much as to add to their vibes. The reason why Cheap Thrillz is the perfect follow-up is because Chef goes in on every single track on the release. Whether it is a result of Chef becoming more comfortable with his talent or Color Plus’ restrained and heavily acoustic beats forcing the lyrics to the foreground, their is a clear emphasis on Chef as a performer and artist throughout the four tracks on Cheap Thrillz. The new formula proves that Ghost Row have incredible technical skill in both rapping and production as well as in gorgeous conceptualizations and soundscapres (something that people are still rightfully skeptical of ASAP about) and are a group that deserves the title of “Connecticut’s finest”. Stream my favorite track from Cheap Thrillz below and stream the entire mixtape after the jump…
If you haven’t heard yet, beat maker extraordinaire, Color Plus, and rapper Chef the Chef have teamed up to form Ghost Row. If you’re familiar with Color Plus and his fantastic Cerulean Dream EP, you know how talented he is at making atmospheric, almost ambient instrumental tracks to stand on their own, but Color Plus is more versatile than just that. The beats on Elevator Muzik remain interesting and unique while still leaving room for Chef to lay down verses that consistently match the beats with a confident swagger throughout the tape. Ghost Row is pushing the boundaries of what should be considered a rap beat and they are doing it without sacrificing any of the positives of not-so-experimental rap. Stream two of my favorite songs from the project below and hit the jump to stream and download the whole mixtape.