EP REVIEW: Sab - Sab Leak Series
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"infectious grooves & masterful rap flows"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Hip Hop, Rap
Sounds Like: Outkast, A Tribe Called Quest, Bix Markie
Technical Grade: 8/10
Weakness: A few dated Mixing Techniques, Marketability
Hip Hop Artist: Sab just released his long awaited seven track debut EP entitled “Sab Leak Series” recorded at his home studio. It was also engineered & mixed by him as well – a tall order for any artist. The songs on the EP are produced by up & coming producers & professionally mastered by Tom Baker of Precision Mastering, whose artist roster includes The Beastie Boys, Ray Charles, Fergie and B.B. King.”
The EP blasts ff with ‘Looking at Girls” a catchy intro piece that serves up solid low end groove, against masterful rap flows with a catchy chorus. This piece presents pulsating moog bass painted against well placed piano, harmonies, & psychedelic keyboard accents. Track 2 “Artsy Crafty” shifts gears a bit with its clever subject matter, though provoking lyrical content & infectious flow & ebb. Track 3 “Get Life” has a very positive message that really hits home, along with solid melodic groove delivering yet another grad slam chorus. The EP makes a solid first impression. I especially like how well the vocal effects & harmonies sit within the mix. Sab's vocal persona is reminiscent of classic rap artists Biz Markie, Outkast, & A Tribe Called Quest, The mixing is quite impressive with lots of creativity. & is packed to the hilt with musical variety. You will also notice things like flute, guitars, strings, percussive accents, & piano to mix thing sup. The beats are rock solid providing solid low end support, & amazing hi-end touches. The CD has many musical flavors, From hip hop, rap, jazz, blues, R&B, Motown, world music, to even psychedelic rock. You will find everything from clever rhymes, addictive melodies, lyrics that are thought provoking, & rap flows that are catchy. The thing I like the most about the rap performances themselves is they never once try to hard, or come across as being to over the top. The CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing an impressive songwriting craft & world class musical arrangements. From up beat pieces “I Just Wanna Have Fun” & "Right Here", to songs rich with conventional wisdom “Get Life, & "Laugh” to clever “I never knew Her” this CD has pretty much has something for everyone.
Hats off to Sab for rolling up his sleeves & taking on some of the engineering duties himself (Recording, Mixing). Mixing will always be one of the most important stages of any production. I would recommend staying away from extreme right & left pans. This technique is extremely dated, amateurish, & sticks out like a sore thumb. This was a clever trick back in the 1960’s but unfortunately its 2010 so the bar is set really hi for independent artists like Sab. It takes skill and engineering savvy to record, mix, & master a musical production to industry standards these days. The impact this will have on it's overall marketability cannot be overstated. Stay in the fairway with your mixing. I might add this comment only applies to a small percentage of the material on the EP.
Song for song, pound for pound “Sab Leak Series” is an impressive EP. Like a heavy weight fighter this EP goes the full 12 rounds, & never once lets its guard down. It has everything from urban swagger, clever lyrics, to songs that are well crafted & hold your attention span perfectly. As a whole this CD possesses allot of variety, & versatility. Hats off to Sab for getting his point across without using excessive profanity along the way. This is a rare find these days as I get the impression Sab is one artist who is extremely confident & comfortable with who he is as an artist It’s obvious to me that Sab doesn’t feel like he needs shock vl value to get your attention. He’s just being himself - & that’s what makes him so special. This touch not only shows his poise, & class, but clearly makes his messages more powerful & legitimate. At the end of the day he commands your respect without shock & awe tactics. He is a funny yet clever character whose company you will thoroughly enjoy. This EP contains everything from hooky compositions, lyrics that are thought provoking, clever rhymes & rhythms, but more importantly a message that leave a lasting impression upon the listener. I look forward to hearing the full length CD soon.
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