It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about a song I’m obsessing over (it’s been awhile since I’ve really written anything here, but whatever), but the new Gramatik is TOO GOOD not to share.
Early in his career, Gramatik put out a few albums called Street Bangerz, which, despite the name, are not typically bangers in the way we think of a “banger” as an upbeat, party-ready track, but actually collections of smooth hip-hoppy jazzy mellowness. I became a fan of Gramatik right around the time of Street Bangerz 4, which was a moment in time not too long before he changed gears musically and started producing much heavier tracks. This sonic shift created a divide between OG Gramatik fans (a term I use loosely, because I’m not really OG but definitely a fan of his older work) and newer Gramatik fans. Both groups love the same producer but their favorite albums sound almost like they come from completely different people. A love of the older albums managed to bring some of the OG fans along for the ride during the transition to thicker bass and more actual bangers, but other fans fell by the wayside. While I’m not one of them, I also can’t blame them.
This is all to say, however, that Denis has blessed old and new fans alike with the long-awaited SB5!!! (Much like Kentucky Fried Chicken becoming KFC, Street Bangerz now just goes by an acronym).
It may just be the new album novelty talking, but I think #5 is my favorite of the SB collections. It’s incredibly diverse but has a consistent, old school funk and soul sound that made so many of us become obsessed with Gramatik in the first place. He has a knack for choosing samples and flipping them to really make you feel like you’re traversing decades with each listen. I’ve had this album on repeat as I worked from home all weekend and cannot imagine being able to listen to anything else any time soon.
The best track off the album, in my humble opinion that could very well change by this time next week, is the first one – “No Place Like NYC“. I am 100% convinced it is at least partially to do with the name of the song, but also to do with the fact that when I start the album over and this song comes on, I have to stop what I’m doing and jam out in my chair for a bit before I can settle down and start working again. In fact, I’ve had a hard time writing this paragraph because the song is on and it is Just. That. Good.
I have no idea how to link to just this one song because sometimes technology escapes me, so here’s the whole album. Enjoy.