As hip-hop becomes more and more of a mainstream reference point, it seems that it’s true innovators are fewer and further between. Trace the lineage from individuals like Afrika Bambaata to Pete Rock and Timbaland and you’ll find a small group, rich with talent. After two albums, an EP of outtakes and a slew of collaborations that would make most producer’s head spin, it’s safe to say that Prefuse 73 can be counted among those whose music has been innovative to the point of creating a new sonic niche that will be influential for years to come.
“My music is hip-hop, there’s no way I’ve ever described it, except for the fact that you won’t hear it on the radio”.
So, hip-hop it is, albeit an alien strain made by a mind just as influenced by Sun Ra, Battles and folk music as it is by Jadakiss, Kanye West and the Def Jux crew. In this context, Surrounded By Silence is an opus that connects everything about hip-hop that is left-of-center to some of it’s most popular and recognizeable elements. A tag team made up of the Wu-Tang’s Ghostface and ex-Company Flow MC El-P? Got it. Def Jukie Camu Tao rocking a radio-ready flow over a wickedly chopped beat? It’s in there.
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