Published Jul 18, 2019Keys N Krates may just be making a run for song of the summer — or beat tape of the summer, to be more precise.
Following last year's debut full-length, Cura, the Toronto trio are back with A Beat Tape for Your Friends, an 11-track instrumental block party that pays tribute to the work of artists like beat master extraordinaire J Dilla, whose work had a direct impact in shaping the group's vision.
Crowned by his peers as the "Coltrane of hip-hop," Dilla's influence on the industry has been profound. His beats bore their way into the hearts and minds of his audiences, giving life to the often misrepresented automation of production. Today, Dilla's work continues to inspire musicians following his passing shortly after the release of the seminal album, Donuts.
To their credit, and perhaps unsurprising given their own proclivity for masterful production, Keys N Krates do a remarkable job of capturing the same breezy nature and infectious spark of creativity that underpins much of Dilla's work and output. Punchy, short tracks open the beat tape ("Hawt Disco Loop") and fill the air with instant groove-worthy music that sets the scene for what is — the perfect beat tape to share with friends under the summer sun. Best enjoyed on an endless loop — far, far away from the reality of winter — this mix is certainly bound to keep the party going long into the night.
It is a real joy to see Keys N Krates return to their hip-hop roots, with a release that emphasizes the communal nature of sharing music no less. (Independent)