The cover artwork features a beautiful black woman, sitting on a white chair listening to a 70’s style stereo system. The cover and the graphics bring a slightly different vibe from what is in fashion now, maybe suggesting that this album is not of this time.
“Ultra Proteus” sounds like a long lost classic hip-hop album from 1992, backed with a few instrumentals from 1972, until you realize that the copyright on the back says 2004. Once I heard the sound of the Hammond organ rolling through with chopped beats, I knew this album would be great.
Approach is the rapper and producer, so he is able to create his own sound in his own terms without regret. As he says in “Funk Reaction”, Approach tries to create music that is for “the body and the soul”, and that statement doesn’t come with attitude or arrogance.
Approach wears his love of the old school with pride, and perhaps for that reason these songs may turn off a lot of people who are used to silly meaningless sing-song tracks. The way he raps (at times sounding like Doodlebug of Digable Planets) and the way he weaves within the music, which goes back and forth between layered samples and real instrumentation, makes him someone to look out for.
With Black Eyed Peas and Thelonious Monk cited as influences, maybe there’s more to Approach than what is heard on “Ultra Proteus.”