Producers come a dime a dozen these days. It is the advent of the internet. It has allowed anyone to grab a program that allows someone to harmonize with instruments. For most, this allows them to try and usually fail however for those who have the ability to stick with it, they can gain enough ground to catch the ear of any artist. The internet has also allowed those with a like sound to click together and pull both sounds together. Keelay & Zaire have used that tool to put together Ridin High.
From the first cut, the influence of the sample is very apparent. Keelay & Zaire seem to be disciples of the school of Pete Rock, with tracks such as Wake Up, led by Emilio Rojas, capture a sound that is as smooth as it is conscious. For much of this album, they keep the tempo down and let samples and heavy handed instrumentation to create their sound.
Throughout the disc are rhymes of underground culture of Hip-Hop. The artists range from the New West Coast luminary Blu (The Times), venerable veterans like Tash (Im On Swerve), and underground mainstay Supasition (Trapped). It creates an atmosphere that pours a smooth grove through the speakers.
However, there are a few bumps in that very groove. I Used To Ride is extremely out of place. Its brash sample mixed with its lyrics full of impetuous sixteens do not mesh well with the rest of the albums tracks that make their mark on a slower, cooler tempo.
Also accompanying this disc is a rare slip up by Little Brother alum Phonte. The North Carolina emcee feels like he phoned it in and it leaves the average fan wondering why he routinely gets involved in hottest rapper out conversations.
For all of the artists and the smooth sounds this album offers, at the end it isnt very memorable. Most of the sounds cruise into each other, and without to much distinction at that. The end product is an album that can sit in the car, however, after a few spins, this one goes to the back and will probably never come back out.
Keelay & Zaire Featuring Blu, Fortlive and Nino Moschella