Every Wikipedia entry you read should be treated with a healthy degree of skepticism, particularly when they involve celebrities or recording artists. If the biographical information isn’t suspect, then that may only be confirmation it was written by the artist themselves or a publicist, at which point the article is equally suspect even if it’s factually correct. It’s like when FOX News tries to proclaim themselves a “No Spin Zone” despite the fact their worldview almost always skews toward what American viewers recognize as a conservative (or at the very least anti-liberal) agenda. When an artist or publicist writes a Wikipedia entry, you can expect a healthy dose of bias, with lines about how so-and-so is world renowned and incredibly successful dripping off the page.
I WOULD take exception to the Wikipedia entry for four solo albums dating back to 2007, not to mention scores of projects he’s produced tracks for. The page certainly reads like it was written by an overenthusiastic record label intern, but what it lacks in objective bias it doesn’t need to apologize for musically. Based on our own reviews and my own experience, Rob Bakker b/k/a Muneshine is exactly as good as his page says he is. While every underground rapper or producer would like to have the “strong and loyal fan-base worldwide” Rob’s hyperbolic entry describes, it rings true even if it sings more praise than a gospel choir. The consistent quality of his work has surely earned him fans at RR.
It’s a pleasure to listen to “In Transit” because for 45 minutes straight I can leave the controls alone and just sit back to enjoy Muneshine’s groove. Even though he’s a capable enough producer to lace the album himself if he chose, Rob chose to hand over the duties to equally capable beat maestros like Exile, Oddisee, Kev Brown, DJ Spinna and Moka Only just to name a few. By selectively choosing likeminded fresh composers, the quality stays at high levels, while simultaneously allowing Rob to explore his increasingly interesting rhymes in greater depth. Even at that Muneshine still shares the spotlight without surrending it, letting artists like ELMNT and Fresh Daily join the fun on “Life Goes On,” which I can honestly call a modern day jazz rap worthy of A Tribe Called Quest. (Now who’s going too far with hyperbole?)
“Trust me – I never saw a test that I couldn’t get an A on
A masterpiece that I couldn’t sketch with a crayon (nope)
A burger and a Becks I couldn’t prey on
But hang on, stay calm – we got next and it’s game on
NBA Jam, Mune’ Scottie Pip’
Killer in the clutch, catch a body it’s obvious
You’re not a part of this, not a lot of you thought of us
But here we are, now Robbie born to be Rihanna rich”
Rob’s raps are a precisely measured mixture of braggart and humor and his vocals are a pleasantly gravelly mixture of whiskey and weed. Muneshine has that mid-1990’s indie rap vibe that’s either 20 years too late or right on time for the retro rebound where everything old has become new again. I like it either way, right down to the “rock, rock on” refrain of “Venus & Mars.” All aspects of hip-hop are explored – hardcore international flows with special guest Jehst on “Harry Callahan,” Canadian boom bap with Adam Bomb, Marmalade and Timbuktu on “New Jack Swing,” synthetic electronics laced with Mobb Deep samples on “Dark Days” and cutting edge soul with D-Sisive and Shaunise on “Far As the Eye Can See.” The truth is even dropping these track names only scratches the surface.
“Boom Goes the Dynamite” indeed. Before this review has more hyperbole than a dozen Wikipedia entries put together, let’s just sum it up simply like this – “In Transit” needs no hype. The album can stand on its own without excess praise, because Rob Bakker is talent and Rob Bakker chooses to work with equally talented people. The results are musically pleasing to any discerning rap afficianado.