Behind the scenes, Waajeed has become as important to Detroit hip hop as anyone not named J Dilla or Eminem. The multi-talented producer, who has worked with artists outside the genre as distinguished as Roy Ayers and Radiohead, has silently established a reputation for churning out heat. Slum Village, arguably the most notable Detroit hip hop group behind D12, has relied on him for numerous conveniences. In fact, the world might never have gotten to know “Fan-tas-tic, Vol. 1,” the group’s debut LP (thank God for “The Look of Love”), and he even introduced them to the quick-witted Elzhi.
His moderately reclusive nature has prevented him from garnering the same status as that of his peers, but that hasn’t stopped him from making great music. “Triple P” is the debut album of his group Platinum Pied Pipers, and above all things, it is truly, truly versatile. Even being featured in RapReviews is a testament to how incredibly loving and generous we are, as it hardly qualifies under ANY genre. The album represents an organic hip hop/R&B sound – but unlike the traditional boom bap of yore. And if it really does sound like live instrumentation, that’s probably because it is – multi-instrumentalist Saadiq contributes his talents as half of the tag team.
The opening “Shotgun” blares with 70’s horns for Dilla to spit his braggadocios rhymes over, and serves as one of the only primarily sample-based bangers on the entire album. “Fever” is alternatively a smooth, melodic slice of soul. “Act Like You Know,” the other Dilla guest spot on the album, is the most traditional sounding hip hop song on the album. The beat is courtesy of Waajeed, but it absolutely bleeds Dilla, with hazy guitar and a metallic sound not far from Phat Kat’s “Cold Steel,” one of the last Dill Withers compositions ever recorded.
“No Worries” is layered and complicated, but boring and predictable. “The Pee’s” bangs with a simplistic guitar loop, but never blossoms into anything else as Ta’Raach talks about a bunch of shit that begins with “P.” The verse doesn’t do the Detroit producer/emcee justice, although his performance on “Lights Out” almost makes up for it. Still, ‘Jeed’s beat is painfully boring, and the uber-talented Georgia Anne Muldrow does little to make amends for it. Much of the album feels like this, but things finally pick up near the end of the listen. “I Got You” is an absolutely gorgeous R&B cut, and, take this how you want, but I find the Pipers’ remake of Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” superior to the original.
Musicians the world over will be able to appreciate the developed, layered sound of “Triple P,” but hip hop heads might have a little trouble getting into it. Rapping is kept to a minimum, and the beats aren’t rowdy – more like smoothed out and mature. Either way it might be worth your while – who doesn’t like a little soul?