For a record whose sound is almost entirely made up of synths and digital bass and bouncing beats, it amazes just how soulful and organic ‘StoopSquared‘ is. The album is a new collaborative effort between Perth’s up and comers The Stoops and Melbourne eclectic producer JSquared.
It’s been fun watching this group grow over the few years. Formerly Stoop Fresh, the group seems to have been initially inspired by fellow young Perth group The Typhoons (who failed to hold onto their initial momentum), and the early days of The Community and Paperchain People. Previous Stoop Fresh records, while lacking production or recording sophistication, proved that the raw ingredients were there. Roc Wallabi, Coin Boogie and Pronto make up the trio of gutsy young producers/emcees willing to do their own thing even within the stiflingly macho Eminem-aping Australian rap scene. The group’s more recent single ‘Free‘, featuring guest vocals from Georgie Kay and production by Rae, was a “sit up and pay attention!” track which certainly promised great things.
So, ‘StoopSquared’ might just be their first big record. The album’s big opener, ‘Right Time‘, may be its best track, boasting a HUGE bouncy bass-driven groove, brisk and honestly confident verses, and a sung chorus from the group’s longtime female-singer, the very talented and soulful Bonita (who, unlike many ‘singers’ in hip hop acts, sounds pretty damn great, and sits well with the rappers and beat). JSquared’s production is in the same style as earlier Stoop Fresh records, but is on an entirely higher level in terms of production sophistication, and sustains interest through the whole album. What is achieved here is a balance of vocals, raps and beats which seem like the work of a very practised and experienced group, simply because its all done with so much passion and a palpable enthusiasm.
The New-new-digital-soul-hop style, borrowing bits and pieces of 90s r’n'b, 60s soul, and modern bass-heavy production technique should be, by all rights, a big goddamn deal. For now it’s not, but hopefully releases like this one won’t get lost in the mix once pop-radio gets a hold of it, gives it a stupid name, and ruins it for everyone.