From the world famous Roots Crew, Scratch brings his solo debut by dropping the world’s first true beatbox record. The album entitled, “The Embodiment of Instrumentation” has Scratch stepping away from his full-time gig as the “Human Turntablist” for the Roots and as a sideman for Jay-Z, Pink, Talib Kweli and more. As Scratch takes center stage on this LP he brings some friends with him to make the transition to solo recording artist more fathomable. The album features special guests: Jill Scott, Bilal, Black Thought, Malik B, Rich Medina, Dice Raw, Flo Brown and the rest of his Philly Crew.
The album gets started with the boombastic “That’s What We Talkin’ About” containing wonderful trumpets, and bomb flavor. Lyrics that cut like a katana don’t hurt either. “Sumthin that you missin” is a wonderful lyrical montage, with a smooth bass line and guitar sample [that sounds like a machine sample, but is not, as nothing on the album is sampled from machine]. “Exhibit One” and “U Don’t Talk Much” are sonically impressive considering the sounds being created. Water effects, echoing, heart thumping bass; with masterful voice scratch effects are prevalent. There is spoken word track accompanied by Scratch doing his thing in “3 Barstoolz Away“, as well as a Jazz medley in “Breath of Fresh Air“, which I found especially remarkable. The appearance of females caressing the mic in the songs “What Happ’n” with Floetry and the faint background voice of Jill Scott featured in “The Morning After” adds an injection of estrogen in the mix. However, Jill’s appearance could have been much more robust, and in its current form; it’s a bit of a letdown.
The first appearance of Scratch as a soloist is a welcome addition to the Roots repertoire. This album is more grassroots and benefits from enhanced production in relation to the debut of another Roots alumnist by the name of Rahzel. There is no denying the skill Scratch wields from his mouth as the de facto beatboxer in the land. Cop the album if you’re feeling the beatbox and want to enjoy it in its finest form. Only good things can come from this premier, and you can scratch that in stone.