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Unagi

For Lovers

(442; US: 13 Feb 2007; UK: Unavailable)

Unagi, California’s resident sound wizard, strikes again.  This time around, he’s adding “matchmaker” to his already impressive title of “beatmaker”.  In his role as producer-turned-Cupid, Unagi’s looking for a love connection—or at least looking to help us find one of our own.  To do so, he’s armed with five arrows (“Hello Girl”, “Afternoon Stroll”, “Let Me Talk To You”, “Can’t Get Enough”, “Lookin’ For a Lady”) composed of intricately layered samples and soul grooves.  The twist, though, is that the tips of the arrows have been dipped in a jar of romance, hence the title (For Lovers) and the album’s release date of February 13—just in time for Valentine’s Day.  Arrow number one, “Hello Girl”, combines the innocence of old school flirtation with a rhythm similar to El DeBarge’s “I Like It”. Arrow number two, “Afternoon Stroll”, saunters through fresh loops, claps, and high-end instrumentation.  Arrow number three, “Can’t Get Enough”, hits the romance target, with an expertly arranged collage of soul samples, while the fourth arrow, “Lookin’ For a Lady”, cranks out a funky fresh rhyme that’s enjoyable, even if it’s slightly dated in style.  It’s the last arrow, “Let Me Talk to You”, that disappoints.  Featuring Masters of Illusion (a.k.a. Kool Keith and Motion Man), “Let Me Talk to You” is more of a “come on” than a turn on, more mack than emotion, and more artifice than art.  Musically, it’s cool; lyrically, it lacks tact and nuance, and it sticks out awkwardly among the rest of the material. It’s the two of clubs that ruins the potential spade Royal Flush of the other four tunes.  Still, For Lovers is (mainly) earnest and sweet, like a walk through a flower garden with your significant other or gazing into your lover’s eyes. That’s good stuff in the world of hip-hop, and in the world at large, and it’s smartly executed.

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Quentin Huff is an attorney, writer, visual artist, and professional tennis player who lives and works in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Law, he enjoys practicing entertainment law. When he's not busy suing people or giving other people advice on how to sue people, he writes novels, short stories, poetry, screenplays, diary entries, and essays. Quentin's writing appears, or is forthcoming, in: Casa Poema, Pemmican Press, Switched-On Gutenberg, Defenestration, Poems Niederngasse, and The Ringing Ear, Cave Canem's anthology of contemporary African American poetry rooted in the South. His family owns and operates Huff Art Studio, an art gallery specializing in fine art, printing, and graphic design. Quentin loves Final Fantasy videogames, Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible, his mother Earnestine, PopMatters, and all things Prince.


Tagged as: unagi
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15 Aug 2006
When Unagi gets behind the boards, it's delightfully difficult to predict his content, but it's safe to bet on the quality of his work.
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