AraabMUZIK relies on instrumentals rather than vocalists on his new EP
The beat tape has long been one of the most central elements of hip-hop culture, dating all the way back to its origin in the 1980s. In 2017, the medium is more of a respected relic than a staple in new releases, but now AraabMUZIK is putting a fresh, EDM inspired twist on the format on his new EP One of One, showing the range of his influences and his own abilities.
As a whole, producers in hip-hop don’t get as much recognition as they should, giving reason for beat tapes to be utilized more often than they are. It requires more skill to hold a listener’s attention in the absence of lyrics, but those who are able to create a worthwhile project certainly get the acclaim they’re looking for.
One of One exists to push the boundaries of hip-hop, borrowing much from electronic genres as well as others. Right off the bat, “Disco” brings those unpolished, earthy qualities associated with beat tapes to the forefront, but swirls the organic drums into a watery, distorted soundscape that remains a theme throughout the project.
It’s not solely an instrumental tape project; vocalists do contribute at careful intervals, but are restrained to the background rather than dominate the image. Nevelle Viracocha lends his talents to “Lock and Load” as well as “Wanted,” the latter being the most impressive on the six-track EP.
In a rare, relative moment of clarity, Viracocha’s voice on “Wanted” is given additional room to breathe outside of the distortion. A dreamy guitar helps set the mood behind him, creating a pensive, crisp sound as he sings “I’m just here to keep you warm.”
The entire project is ethereal, but the most distilled example of that sound might be manifested in “Choir.” Unsurprisingly opening with an angelic ensemble of voices, the heavenly vibe sets a relaxed mood that sustains itself once the 808s kick in soon after.
The entirety of One of One doesn’t require a lot of focused, dedicated listening, but rather creates fitting background music to which the mind can freely wander. AraabMuzik made his name well known for his live mixes, and his ability to create intricate layers on top of each other on the fly. This EP succeeds with a similarly effortless feeling, with natural progressions and pairings that keep all the noise from sounding overly processed. The traditional beat tape may be on the verge of extinction from mainstream hip-hop, but by crafting his own unique sound, AraabMuzik and his instrumentals are worthy of attention.