June 28th, 2011 | Album reviews

Illustration by Steven Fiche

Download Samiyam “Cushion”


(from Sam Baker’s Album out now on Brainfeeder)

Sam Baker’s Album is 17 funk-fueled tracks with a classic hip-hop backbone densely packed into a quick 40 minutes. This is Sam’s second full length—the first was Rap Beats Vol. 1, self-distributed via his Myspace page up until FlyLo made it his first release on Brainfeeder—and while he still brings Donuts with sprinkles and the beats broken off from video games, it’s not Rap Beats Vol. 2 by a long shot. His second LP shows what a vivid imagination the Ann Arbor-turned-L.A. producer has, knitting together a series of vignettes that delve into hip-hop and pop and electro-funk, with pixilated explosions punctuated by retro synths, and heavy bass lines, and samples of what sounds like clay pots smashing on a deck and being dragged across concrete. “Kitties” is the track that sold me on the record—right out of the gate, Samiyam samples Bubbles from the Trailor Park Boys: “Me and kitties, it’s kinda like that book Catcher and the Rye. Did ya ever read that one? I’m kinda like the guy that looks out for all the kitties in the park. Otherwise, there’d be nobody to take care of them. This cocksucker here, I found him in a storm drain.” It’s very playful—meows cut in right on time to accentuate deep blunted beats. And baby Sam on the cover, of course, is adorable.

—Lainna Fader