Digital Martyrs are a trio from the Bay Area who are still relatively unkown. Beatrock Music is a young label based out of Los Angeles, producing plenty of great politically aware hip hop from artists such as Bambu and Rocky Rivera. If you’re not familiar with the work they’ve been doing, this remix collection is a great starting point.
The formula on this collection of remixes is fairly simple, but it works extremely well: well-chosen soul samples, funky beats, and smart lyrics. In the case of many of these songs, I prefer the new versions to the originals. Which is not to say that the originals are bad, but just that the Martyrs have done that well in resituating the vocals over new beats in a way that fits so well and is so memorable, it sounds like it should have been that way in the first place.
The first four tracks all fit this mode, taking tracks from Power Struggle, Bambu, and Rocky Rivera, and breathing new life into them that sound amazing coming out of your car stereo with the windows down. This all builds up to “Slow Down,” a track by Bambu featuring Prometheus Brown of Blue Scholars. Digital Martyrs are able to pull off one of the hardest tasks as producers, taking a well-known sample (in this case, the guitar riff from “Heartbreaker” by Led Zeppelin) and incorporating it in such a way that allows you to recognize it, but sounds completely natural in its new context. This is no easy feat, but the Martyrs make it work extremely well.
The remixes of “What Goes Up” by Power Struggle and “Breaking Point” by the CounterParts are the only real slip-up on the collection. This isn’t to say they’re bad. Rather, the Martyrs tried to incorporate some different elements, bringing in some dub and synths, and it doesn’t really fit well with the rest of the album. It clicks later when they give a reggae touch to “Wash it Away” by Power Struggle.
This album accomplishes everything I would want it to - it showcases Digital Martyrs’ skill for pairing lyrics with samples and beats so that everything culminates in a song that has you turning up the stereo and reciting the words along with the record. It also provides a great introduction for a talented group of emcees, and hopefully this will inspire people to learn more about Bambu, Rocky Rivera, Power Struggle, CountrParts, and Kiwi. This remix collection definitely whets my appetite for the next Beatrock album.
|Title:||Digital Martyrs - Remix Beatrock|