PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

DJ Spinna: Here to There

Kristina Francisco

Dj Spinna

Here to There

Label: BBE
US Release Date: 2003-02-04
UK Release Date: 2003-02-03
Amazon
iTunes

Off UK's legendary label Barely Breaking Even, DJ Spinna's latest full-length Here to There is a part of BBE's Beat Generation series, a collection of producer-led albums where the guest artists involved have complete creative freedom. You see, for the series, BBE picks a prolific and influential producer to make an album, and in turn that producer picks artists to guest on said album. It's a good idea and ultimately these collaborations lead to aggressive lyrics laid over innovative beats. As expected, the tracks on Spinna's Here to There are no exception. With a number of excellent MC's on hand, the DJ/producer/remixer delivers an album that meets his fans' expectations as well as pleasing those of us who aren't exactly well versed in the world of hip-hop.

The series began in February 2001 with Jay Dee's Welcome to Detroit and has since flourished with releases from Pete Rock, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Will.I.Am (of Black Eyed Peas fame) and, most recently, Philly's King Britt. And though Britt's Adventures in Lo-Fi has gotten mixed reviews, his record, as well as Spinna's, carries on the Beat Generation tradition by featuring a producer's talent to traverse over various sounds, molding them into a simply smooth hip-hop LP.

DJ Spinna, quite naturally, belongs in the Beat Generation hall of fame. Spinning since the '80s, he has shown his prowess at producing and remixing by working with a bevy of mainstream and underground artists, earning the respect of both his colleagues and hip-hop fans alike. Born Vincent Williams, Spinna has dealt with and remixed everyone from big namers like Mos Def, George Michael, and Mary J. Blige to underground acts 4 Hero and DJ Krush. In 2001, his underground rep only burgeoned with the release of the Jigmastas' record Infectious, off his own Beyond Real Recordings.

On Here to There, Spinna delves into R&B, jazz, hip-hop, electro, and Latin beats, churning out a record that blends all these genres into one cohesive album. Like the rest of the series producers, the Brooklyn-based and -raised DJ has made his Beat Generation disc an opportunity to showcase his countless influences. Opening track "Alfonso's Thang" featuring Tiklah introduces the 76-minute LP with some free flow while outro "The Originator" dances on a Caribbean island sound. Spinna busts out classic London breakbeats on "Love Is Sold" and "Galactic Soul" reveals a spacey futuristic sound. Vocalists Vinia Mojica ("Idols") and Angela Johnson ("Glad You're Mine") add in a little R&B to the mix and Shaun Escoffery, Britain's next big thing, lends his Brit-soul voice to the dance vibe of "Music in Me (Come Alive)".

The most lyrically hard-hitting track on the LP is "Fly or Burn" featuring the Bedouin. Referencing everyone and everything from Kennedy to Dick Cheney, the Sierra Leone civil war to Iraq, the Bedouin manages to incorporate some of the politics of these tough times into Here To There. Just a sampling of his challenging rhymes: "It's time to awaken / For how can you sleep so comfortably in your bed / When all around the world, blood is being shed / Don't you know if one bleeds, we all bleed / If one needs, we all need". Throughout the song, Bedouin repeatedly demands "We're at the point of no return / History's repeating / Fly or burn", which, considering the current international climate, could reference Operation Iraqi Freedom. His words, intentional or not, proves the powerful voice hip-hop has in the world.

However important lyrics are, the Beat Generation series is about the producer and not the MC. With Here to There, DJ Spinna's talent for combining hip-hop, jazz and electro -- a talent that's made him a valued name in the industry -- is once spotlighted. Each song flows nicely into the next, making Here to There a record that is as accessible to hardcore hip-hop lovers as it is to people who simply like a good beat.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.