New York City has given Hip Hop some of its best and most celebrated emcees. While the lyrical aspect of a Hip Hop song or album often draws the most attention, the beat that accompanies the emcee’s voice must also be given heavy consideration. OxyBeats grew up in the Jefferson projects along the east side of Harlem, where he discovered most of the inspiration he still harnesses today. Intrigued by legends like DJ Premier and Havoc, he found his knack for production and made his first beat at the age of 16. Music has always surrounded Oxy, his eldest brother rapped in a group called, Loft Fam around the same time which fueled the fire in him even stronger.
The 10 track album, “OXY Pack” features a set of handpicked features and OxyBeats’ raw, head-nodding grooves, showcasing the timelessness of hypnotic drums and an irresistible rhythm. With his old school sound and new school technique, OxyBeats infuses his beats with cinematic atmosphere and an impeccable ability to cater his production to an artist’s style.
With each beat, OxyBeats tells a story, carefully selecting sounds and layering them over passionate, soulful samples or using strings and horns to display emotion that mellow keys alone can’t. OxyBeats bends sound to his will — like clockwork, out comes a beat so clean groovy that all you feel is vibe.
The album kicks off with “One Time” ft. Gordo Flea who lays down an urgent and abrasive flow, which OxyBeats lays down in a soulful bed of sound. “No Wins In Mi Casa” ft Sunny 8eyes forges a hard-slapping drum beat and a relentless flow from Sunny.
The Harlem producer’s album is a showcase not only for the talented features but for OxyBeats talent as a great producer and knowing when to step out of the way. He manages to do this even on a complex, futuristic beat like “Best Life”. Notwithstanding he has included all the electronic squeaks and squeals possible, feature Malik Morrison, still has plenty of space for his rhymes.
“Workin” is built from a reggae riddim sample, on which Rmb Dell88 delivers an incandescent flow. “1994” ft. Pringlez Hardy brings a nostalgic retro groove, while Hardy drops a sustained syncopated rhyme scheme. Resonant and bass-driven, “Camp Cromwell Freestyle” delivers a heart-pumping slow-burn beat which features Ufo Fev.
OxyBeats knows how to mix the perfect back-drop and hand over the mic to those that build the fantasy of vibrant storytelling, which is what J Dillenger does on “Sleep”. OxyBeats’ beat-making mindset takes a sharp left turn on “We Different” ft. Cash Christ, as he etches out an ultra-minimal futuristic soundscape to accompany the incessant flow.
From the first track to the last, this entire album will leave you wide-eyed with energy. “Elevators” ft. Walky Wah is a prime example that confidence can come in the form of sound, and certifies that OxyBeats is your production hype man. But the best is yet to come with the album closer, “K Vibes” ft. K Like the Letter.
This is the grooviest track of the bunch, featuring a gravelly vocal and a smooth horn backdrop, accompanied by a banging drum. Producer and rapper waste no time getting straight into it, and it’s easily my favorite track on the album.
Given “OXY Pack” is a producer’s album I should probably talk about the beats. It’s simple, I love every single one on here. For all the innovation, genre-bending and raw energy on display in the past year’s worth of hip-hop releases, there were few albums that actually forged the magnified producer’s expression on it. But now, we have that album, and it came from an unexpected underground source, named OxyBeats.