Very rarely has there been as much cross-genre love for an album as for Lazerbeak‘s debut album, Legend Recognize Legend. Hip hop heads respect Lazerbeak because he is associated with Doomtree Recordsand as a producer, Lazerbeak has produced tracks for artists like Wale, Dessa. So you can see why hip hop heads might be exited but Lazerbeak gets as much love from the indie rock crowd. The indie rock crowd might know Lazerbeak from his ex-band, The Plastic Constellations which was signed to Frenchkiss Records. They, also, did a stint touring with The Hold Steady.
Despite the cross-genre love, I can not see hip hop heads getting too excited over Lazerbeak. Don’t get me wrong, Lazerbeak is a masterful producer, but he falls much closer to the indie rock side. If I had to compare, Legend Recognize Legend to someone it would probably be Dntel. The album is full of esoteric production and sung vocals, no rapping at all. Of course, that does not mean that there is nothing to like on the album.
The album’s best song has to be “Cannon Falls” which is buried towards the end of the album for some reason. The track has a very similar vocal performance to “Salt and Sea” but the beat is more lush. It’s strings remind me of J.U.S.T.I.C.E. but the beat reminds me of Knobody’s production on Game‘s “Game’s Pain”. The track is fun and poppy, definitely the most party-anthem-esque song on Legend Recognize Legend.
The album’s lead single “Salt And Sea” has a beat that sounds like Timbaland remixing Say Hi to Your Mom. While over the beat, Lazerbeak gives a vocal performance that sounds like Aesop Rock trying to sing like Craig Finn. While I’m not sure how appealing that description makes it sound, the result is actually a song that is catchy but a little off-the-beaten-path.
That is probably the way to describe the album; there is nothing mainstream about it, but it is a lot more poppy than some experimental production albums I have reviewed in the past. The album has high musical merit but I’m just not sure how much it is going to appeal to hip hop heads.