Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole, “Leave It All Behind,” by J-Boogie’s Dubtronic Science featuring Aima the Dreamer and The Rebirth off the 2008 album Soul Vibrations via Om Records.
There was a moment in music history when hip-hop, dominated by the transition from party rap and sappy soul, began an exploration of jazz and soul. Bands such as Us3, Digable Planets, and PM Dawn — for a brief time — had some hip-hop fans throwing on “Cantaloop,” or “Rebirth of Slick,” over “Gin and Juice,” and “Nuthin’ But a G Thang.” The hold fusion hip-hop (for lack of a better term) held on the mainstream slipped quickly, transforming the budding genre into an outcast and a memory.
Fast forward to the new millennium and you’ll find the genre making a comeback, albeit on a small scale. As it happens, J-Boogie’s Dubtronic Science is such a group, picking up the dusty 45s from the slumped stacks to create unusual and unique takes on, not only the fused sounds of the early 90s but the throwback sound of the 60s and 70s R&B. However, taking a cue from the modern rebirth of big band soul, J-Boogie’s sounds are more organic than the group’s predecessors. These are songs that may rely on a prefab foundation but build with material they’ve mined and refined. A decoupage of modern hip-hop and classic soul, jazz, and funk create sturdy walls in the house of J-Boogie. There’s still some construction to complete but the finished product is imaginable thanks to the framework laid out by such tracks as “Leave It All Behind.”
J-Boogie’s Dubtronic Science is currently in the midst of a mini-West Coast tour. Alas, the group’s MySpace page delivers disappointing news: no Seattle shows are scheduled. To help dry away the tears, might we suggest enjoying the roller disco soul that is the video for “Inferno”?