In a generation seemingly obsessed with networking, it’s very important to be connected. For a producer in this genre, it’s especially crucial. We’ve seen it time and time again, from Marco Polo to Jake One to Domingo and other such examples, being connected allows a producer to showcase skills while bringing emcees along as complementary pieces for the main event. Though sometimes, emcees steal the spot light, this usually opens up an audience to a beatsmith, especially when the tracks are stellar. Fortunately, Apollo Brown is connected in the underground and he’s got a few emcees backing him up on The Reset, an album that, as its title suggests, will take you back.

It’s clear from the introductory “Our Time” that the Michigan State University graduate is a soulful cat. The following six cuts, from “Hungry” to “Brag Language” all cement this further, as Apollo relies heavily on Soul samples and sped-up vocals. While none of the tracks are boring on their own, it’s easy to get lost in the repetition of the style, where some of the pieces sound an awful lot like others, making spontaneity absent. Perhaps this is why the harder “Streets Won’t Let Me Chill” stands out, with the intriguing change in drums giving this album a breath of fresh air. Fortunately for fans of “chipmunk soul” and beat-digging, Brown returns to that style on the following track and keeps that formula alive through the end of the album. For those appreciative of this trend popularized by Just Blaze, Kanye West and Heatmakerz, the album will be a banger as many of the cuts are strong instrumentals. However, The Reset is also missing versatility and that holds it back from reaching different heights musically.

For any fan of the burgeoining Detroit Rap world, this album is one to behold. Magestik Legend (“Brag language” and “Just Think”), The Left (“Real Detroit”) and Black Milk (“Hungry”) share their efforts on fellow Detroit representative Brown’s album. Rapper Big Pooh (“Hungry” and “Turn & Run”), MED (“Turn & Run”), Diamond District (“Streets Won’t Let Me Chill”) and Oddisee (“Propa”) all add their pieces to the puzzle. Stik Figa is responsible for a compelling concept (“Seasons”) and Magestik’s “Just Think” is another outstanding lyrical display, only adding to the substance on the album. All of this generally works to benefit Apollo, especially since no emcee truly outshines the man of the hour.

As it stands, The Reset is more of a pause button, to the monotony of contemporary Rap production than a fresh start. While some may laud the effort for going back to some Soul, others can note it pays more tribute to something than ever advancing its place in the music. This is a noteworthy compilation, very much akin to the releases label-mate Oddisee made early in the decade, that serve as more of an introductory portfolio than a mapped-out producer’s album. Overall, The Reset may bring us back, but it doesn’t change the game.