The art of making music with your mouth is a skill that very little have mastered, besides the select few that first brought it to the forefront during Hip-Hop’s infant stages.
But continuing on the traditional techniques of yester-year with a new flare are sound effect experts like Kyle “Scratch” Jones [Click for interview] formerly of The Roots, as he does so with his latest album, Loss 4 Wordz.
Landing the participation of heavy-hitters like Kanye West, Talib Kweli, Estelle, M.O.P., Daniel Bedingfield, Damon Albarn (the Gorillaz), and Musiq Soulchild, the Grammy Award winner manages to infuse his natural ability with that of machine-generated instrumentation that plays tricks on the listener, leaving them guessing on what’s what.
After a quick intro displaying his talent, the live show begins with ‘Let’s Go’ (feat. Peddi Crakk).
From there, he keeps it in the Philly region by recruiting Musiq Soulchild and his harmonious ways for ‘Tonite,’ as the soul veteran serenades the ladies, while Scratch provides a scratch-in hook for good measures.
The always charismatic and confident Kanye West finds his way onto ‘Ready To Go,’ which also features Consequence.
Behind production that leaves you wondering what’s made with modern technology, and what’s not, Kanye seizes the opportunity to further compliment himself, “Act like she ain’t know who the hell I am/or act like she don’t know the jets I land/in Ireland/with they disposal camera, they wanna pose with Kay/money got me smellin’ sweeter than potpourri/f*ck a float today, I need a whole parade.”
‘Too Late’ featuring Damon Albarn from the Gorillaz and Talib Kweli is a break in the album consisting of a slower pace, where it’s a lot easier to figure out Scratch’s contributions, versus the actual track.
Reggae star Gentleman brings his Caribbean vibe on ‘Midnight Hour,’ which finds Scratch lining his skills up faint guitar loops and violins.
British songstress Estelle lends her vocals on ‘The Man,’ which finds Scratch being just as vocal, with his beatboxing taking front and center.
Other notable collaborations are ‘I’ll Be There For You’ (feat. Jonas Myron), ‘Fade Away’ (feat. Jeymes Samuels), and ‘Get The F*ck Outta Here’ (feat. M.O.P. and Showtime); while songs like ‘Girl I’m Gonna Make You’ (feat. Arthur Baker) are just a waste of Scratch’s lung capacity.
In the end, Loss 4 Wordz is a solid alternative to the typical sounds of Hip-Hop, R&B, alt-rock, and world music, as Scratch chooses his collaborations wisely and gets the most out of his knack for sound distortion, while proving the art of the beatbox is still alive and kicking, even in the 21st Century…