It doesn’t take long to realize that Mode 7, a collaboration pairing Scottish producers Jazz Spastiks and Queens emcee junclassic, is aiming to be a throwback. From the introduction, the Spastiks’ laid-back Jazz-influenced canvases pair with sampled hooks and jun’s rhymes and cadence to echo an early to mid ’90s sound.
The two are at their best on lead single “Bust Ya Melon,” where punchy drums mix well with relaxed keys to create a surprisingly electric sound. Jun’s verses keep the track funky, pairing almost playful wordplay with the somber topic of societal struggle. One such gem would be “Here’s ya brain: eggs in a frying pan / Kids wanna rep the same colors as Spider Man,” proving jun can deliver a message while keeping things light.
“Times,” another standout, finds jun once again completely in sync with his producers. Over a more downtempo sound, jun spits some of his strongest bars: “This is the problem: modern Gomorrah and Sodom / Baby in the basement gotta crawl from the bottom / Been through it all, stood tall as Stan Smith / Win, Lose, or Draw, it’s war, you can’t quit.”
Mode 7‘s weak point sonically comes on “The Mission,” which sounds a bit convoluted compared to the Spastik’s otherwise well-placed sound. Junclassic’s misstep comes on the obligatory weed track “Blunts.” He never sounds completely comfortable over the track, especially on the second verse, giving his bars a mechanical delivery and a tone that sounds forced.
Despite these minor setbacks, Jazz Spastiks and junclassic provide a solid soundtrack to summer, and those wishing for something more akin to the Golden Age will certainly enjoy this collection of songs. There is something to be said for setting the right mood, and Mode 7 clearly captures the essence of times past.