Review: Basmala – s/t

Basmala album

4 out of 5 stars

While Basmala may be a new name to many, the man behind the alias, Hasan Atiq (who is formerly known as Autolect) has produced forward-thinking beats on a string of strong albums from the mid to late ’00s (one of which featured featured production from 9th Wonder). The producer/rapper/singer is back working under this new pseudonym with his self-titled album. Basmala shows that he is still innovative with his ideas and execution now as he was a decade ago. Taking cues from progressive jazz (check out “RNR” for proof) as well as ambitious hip-hop, the beatsmith has come up with something that’s futuristic sounding, spiritual and unique.

From the swirling opening track “Elastic” that sees him rapping under his Atiq moniker — he does so on several of the tracks on the album — to the laid-back but intense hip-hop of “Just Us” featuring Houston rapper Mumblz Medina and the sprawling trilogy of electronic tracks that feature so many beat-driven peaks and troughs that is “Hijaz Parts 1-3,” this is an immersive and varied aural experience from the start to finish.

Blending some stunning rapping from the aforementioned Atiq (which shows that the producer is as stone cold as a rapper as he is at making beats) and Mumblz Medina (who simply slays throughout the track he is featured on and delivers the killer line, “I’m not a fan of stop snitching, be a man, stand up for your fam and stop bitching”) as well as two killer cameos from rapper Mikial with beats that both encase themselves over your consciousness and make you nod your head to excess, Basmala manages to make an album that is both conscious and hardcore.

From the harsh narratives of “Just Us” and “The Griot” to the hazy “Warp Speed” that has elements of classic works by DJ Shadow to the sparse and heartbreaking void of “The Mount” via the immersive “Day One”, the anthemic “Chopa Sidi” and the closing trippiness of “Method,” it’s all here to be explored and enjoyed. Delve into the world of Basmala and prepare to take in a journey that you won’t forget.

Gavin Brown

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