Hip-hop producer and artist Apollo Brown released his latest album last week in the form of This Must Be the Place. Released Friday through Mello Music Group, the 21-song instrumental collection is a record that will appeal not just to hip-hop fans, but those of rhythm and blues, too. That is evidenced throughout its varied arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The sequencing of those songs makes for its own appeal here and will be examined a little later. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later. Each item noted does its own share to make This Must Be the Place engaging and entertaining. All things considered they make the album a welcome addition to this year’s field of new rap and hip-hop albums.
This Must Be the Place, the new album from Apollo Brown, is a strong first outing from the veteran producer and artist. That is especially the case being that it is Brown’s first new instrumental record in eight years. The record’s success comes in part through its featured musical arrangements, which vary widely from the record’s start to end. The first handful of songs featured in the record’s body lean very heavily in a R&B direction. Some of those early arrangements lend themselves to comparison to works that are featured in so much of Mary J. Blige’s work. As the record progresses, the arrangements start to change somewhat, leaning more in the direction of works that one might expect from works from the likes of Common. Even deeper into the album’s run, audiences get arrangements that would be a solid fit with the likes of Mos Def and Black Star. In other words, the arrangements that make up the album’s body are diverse in their sounds and styles from one to the next and fully engaging from one to the next. One of the absolute best of the arrangements comes a little more than halfway through its 68-minute run time in the form of ‘Butter.’ The gentle, flowing keyboard line, paired with the steady hip-hop beat and strings is so infectious in its subtle, simple approach and sound. ‘Changes in the Truth,’ which comes almost midway through the record, is a prime example of one of those arrangements that would fit well with any song from Common. That is evidenced through the use of its vocals, keyboard, and beats. ‘Catching Moments,’ which closes out the record, is one of the handful of works that could easily be heard in songs from the likes of Mos Def and Blackstar. The vintage style from the keyboard alongside the tambourine and beats blends old school and modern sounds and styles so well, which again, is very much along the lines of such works. Again, the sounds and styles in all of the record’s songs are diverse and change from one to the next, ensuring in their own way, audiences’ engagement and entertainment.
As much as the diversity in the songs does to keep audiences engaged and entertained in Brown’s new album, they are just part of what makes it appealing. The songs’ sequencing makes for its own interest. The sequencing ensures that the record’s energy remains stable from beginning to end of its hour-plus runtime even as the arrangements’ styles and sounds change from one arrangement to the next. From the laid back vibe of the record’s R&B leaning first quarter (roughly) to the vintage hip-hop sound to the more modern-leaning works, each song maintains the record’s laid back vibe. Considering a statement that Brown made about the record’s title, that stable, relaxed vibe makes even more sense.
“It’s that peaceful place in your existence where you’ve always dreamt of being, the attainment of certain emotional, physical, and spiritual elements that make you whole, and being so comfortable with life that you could sit on the edge of a cliff and fly a kite,” he said.
That vibe is exactly what audiences will attain thanks to the noted sequencing. It will keep listeners so relaxed in that positive state of mind. Together with the songs themselves, the two elements go a long way toward making the record overall so enjoyable.
As much as the record’s songs and their sequencing does to make the album so enjoyable, they are still not all that is worth noting. Its production puts the finishing touch to its presentation and makes for even more appeal.
The production that went into the record’s creation is so important to note because it is what was responsible for bringing out the best of each arrangement, making sure that each instrumentation was balanced. From the subtle guitar lines that show up occasionally to the use of the equally casual piano lines that make up so much of the record’s work, to the steady beats that serve as each arrangement’s backbone, each arrangement’s production balances its elements expertly from one to the next. That balance in the songs’ arrangements creates such a positive general effect throughout the record that will leave listeners wanting more in the best way possible. Keeping that in mind along with the impact of the songs and their sequencing, the whole makes the album overall a successful first new offering from Brown in nearly a decade.
This Must Be the Place, is an impressive new offering from veteran producer and hip-hop artist Apollo Brown in eight years, especially being his first new instrumental record is eight years. Its success comes in part through its featured songs, which offer audiences a variety of hip-hop arrangements. Some having R&B leanings, others vintage hip-hop, and others still have more modern leanings. That diversity is sure to keep listeners engaged and entertained in its own right. The songs’ sequencing makes for its own appeal because it makes sure that the record’s energy stable throughout even as the songs’ styles and sounds change. The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation, ensuring its general effect is just as positive as its content. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the album, as noted. All things considered they make This Must Be the Place a truly great new addition to this year’s field of new hip-hop and rap albums.
This Must Be the Place is available now. More information on Apollo Brown’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:
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