Albums released by producers are usually hit or miss, and that's when they include emcees rocking the beats. When a producer releases an album comprising solely of instrumentals it's even harder to keep the listener entertained. Die-hard fans tend to tune in when greats like Pete Rock drop, as do aspiring rappers, but otherwise instrumentals alone aren't valuable outside of the realm of DJs. DJ Spinna is relatively well-known among underground rap heads from his work with J-Live, ED O.G., and even MC Eiht back in the day. Possibly to get his name out there more or just to give heads tight beats to flow over, Spinna has ventured into the world of instrumental albums. His third attempt, "Compositions3," is a mix of jazzy samples, tight drums, and fresh creativity that should please anyone who picks up a copy.
Clocking in at only 25 minutes and featuring only 6 tracks, "Compositions3" is a short but sweet affair. "Capitol" starts things off with a playful bass-line accented by a jazzy trumpet sample and smooth background strings. The hook is differentiated by the addition of a soulful vocal sample. Overall the track is dope enough to stand on its own, but could also take a whole new life with the proper emcee. "Avenue" is equally laidback, though not as playful as "Capitol." The soft drum line is combined with soft strings, while the hook gets more complex with a sublime piano riff added. The track has a more serious tone too, showing Spinna can flip his style when needed. "Edge" is a more fast-paced song as the jazzy snares and cymbals drive the mix of pianos and trumpets. It's equally good and keeps the listener entertained by layering the track with different scattered samples and variations along the way, a pattern that repeats itself on every "composition."
"Amadeus" comes next, and while its not bad at all the synths and "wah" sounds used to comprise the melody don't make the impact that the previous 3 tracks made. Spinna uses voice samples once again on "Willing," this time with much better results. The plucked strings used on the melody sound dope and almost give the track a party vibe, while the drums do a good job to keep the track thumping along. The addition of the overlapping voice samples and synths in the hook only make the track better. Overall, "Willing' is probably the albums best track if only for its potential to become a dope emcee-assisted track. The album ends with "Shazzam," a track more in tune with the jazziness that started the album off. Spinna once again used his creative genius to combine different elements, such as brass, strings, and a minute voice sample to make an attention grabbing beat. The equally funky bass line takes center stage during the bridge/hook and also holds its own.
"Compositions3" is a good album, though way too short by any standards. All the music included is of high quality. Spinna does his best to vary his beats throughout, by the inclusion of well-placed hooks and bridges, so that even the casual listener wouldn't mind bumping the music in the background during a chilled-out get-together or a lazy Sunday afternoon. Emcees will also find it irresistible not to wreck on Spinna's jazz-inspired tracks. Overall, Spinna shows why, though he lacks the commercial success of other producers, he has had longevity in the hip-hop world. His compositions may be short, few, and far between but the quality of his work is unquestionable.
Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: n/a of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10
Originally posted: May 17, 2005