For over three decades and counting, Hip Hop has captured the hearts and minds of staunch ambassadors throughout the globe. Countless creative advances have been made as emcees, graffiti writers, breakdancers, and DJs have broken ground in lands far removed from Kool Herc’s foremost innovations in the South Bronx. The latter part of the past decade has found Australia’s M-Phazes behind the boards honing a craft that has earned him a reputation for hard drums and lush instrumentation, demonstrated through his work with the likes of Talib Kweli, Pharaohe Monch, and Jean Grae amongst others. After putting on for his continent with 2010’s Good Gracious compilation – featuring the brightest talents from down under – he has recently been commissioned by Coalmine Records to remix selections from their back catalog for a set entitled Phazed Out.
M-Phazes has developed a particular flair for tracks that fall in line with the sound of vintage boom-bap. He and Coalmine Records are clearly disinterested in popular trends, as the majority of guests featured on this project hail from the Northeastern United States and rarely achieve mainstream radio rotation. Another near anomaly that illuminates Phazed Out is the precise turntable genius of DJ Rhettmatic (of The Beat Junkies crew), who breathes additional life to each track his artistry blesses. The album is highlighted by a soundscape of versatile energies, ranging from boisterous organs reminiscent of G-Unit classics on the Big Noyd/Strong Arm Steady posse cut “All Out” to CL Smooth combining forces with Skyzoo on the laid back “Perfect Timing” and the jazzy backdrop of “Brooklyn Bridge” where Bekay and Masta Ace wax poetic about Hip Hop’s most infamous borough. Other highlights include the raucously frenetic Heltah Skeltah’s “Midnight Madness” and J-Live’s razor sharp commanding presence on the bouncy “Super Good.”
With Phazed Out, the Aussie producer manages to keep heads nodding despite primary drawbacks stemming from long established veterans such as Chubb Rock, Sadat X and Phantasm (Cella Dwellas) who are no longer a match for newcomers they rap alongside. As well, underground mainstay El Da Sensei’s “2 The Death” delves into the already exhausted concept of maintaining authentic ties to Hip Hop’s culture, and newer subterranean sensations Brown Bag All Stars barely ring off as captivating. These grievances aside, this latest artistic venture should bring M-Phazes further into the limelight as a beatmaker deserving attention and acclaim.