RATING: 3 CHET BAKERS
After the slight letdown that was Unwrapped Volume 5, I was interested in seeing what Hidden Beach would bounce back with. So when I bought Hidden Beach Unwrapped volume 6: Give The Drummer Some this back this past November I was intrigued because, much like Hidden Beach did with Volume 5, they partnered up with someone outside the Hidden Beach Family.
In Volume 5 they partnered up with hip hop producer Mr. Collipark, known for such artists as the Yin Yang Twins. In this volume they partnered up with drummer Tony Royster Jr who has played with artists such as Imajin, Envogue and has toured with Jay Z as his official drummer.
TONY WITH JAY Z
Much like the previous iteration of Unwrapped they mined track choices from the more recent hip hop hits rather than the older more established tracks.
And you know what? I'm cool with that. Whether it's because it works better with Royster drumming, or perhaps the song selection I don't know, but my feelings towards this volume is a lot warmer than it was against the fifth one.
Now that said, this still isn't my favorite track listing of Hidden Beach, but that said it's not that bad, even if I want to stab my ears everytime I hear Beyonce's "Single Ladies" song. Tony Royster actually makes it bearable for me, but I think I've heard that song so many times since it's come out that it drives me insane and I can't stand it.
Other songs on here are almost entirely new to me. When I got this and first listened to it, the only songs on here that I had heard before were Single Ladies, and the two classic tracks "Me, Myself and I" and "Flava in your Ear". This is due to me not listening to music radio, so unless I hear them online I most likely won't hear them.
So out of the 10 tracks, 7 of them I had never heard before aside from snippets here and there, despite them being fairly big to massive hits on the radio. So I actually had to look up who did the original songs.
And despite my having tempered expectations once I saw who originally did the songs, I was pleasantly surprised. Highlights have to include "Blame It", "Live Your Life" and "Every Girl", and of COURSE the classic "Flava in ya Ear".
While I was disappointed that many of the Hidden Beach musicians such as Mike Phillips and Karen Briggs were not gracing the album, there were a few that made apearances, namely Jeff Lorber on Keys and Johnny Britt on Trumpet and Flugelhorn.
This was wholly original of Hidden Beach to bring on Royster and I thought that he was dynamite. I don't think I've ever really paid attention to drummers that much, and as a result I wasn't sure what to expect with this. Count me immensely surprised and excited enough that I've listened to this many many times since I got it eight months ago.
The only real complaint that I have (aside from Single Ladies, of course lol) is really the one complaint that I've had over the course of the series but I didn't really address it: The synths. For a compilation that features live musicians actually playing, there's a lot of computer synth sounds. This can pull you out of the listening experience when you're listening to live music, and suddenly you hear that little computerized sounds.
It's not a bad sound, but as I said it kind of draws you out, or at least it does me. Not enough to ruin the experience, but it's something that when wearing headphones it becomes very noticeable.
I'd love in the future if they eliminated that and went 100% live and sans the computerized aspect, but I think that the series has succeeded just fine so far, so perhaps that adds to it for some people. It certainly doesn't take away from it enough to detract from the rating, so take that for what you will.
Below is the snippets and link to buy the album from Hidden Beach's website. Tomorrow I will have the Unwrapped Volume 7 review up, as soon as I have finished listening to it several times. Stay on the lookout!
Hidden Beach Presents UNWRAPPED Vol. 6 - Give The Drummer Some! featuring Tony Royster Jr. by hiddenbeach