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Review: Korean Rapper J-Slow Mixes Electro Rap With 1980s Pop Saxophone And Somehow Makes It Work On 'Slow Motion' [VIDEO]

By Jesse Lent | December 15, 2014 11:57 PM EST


For a brief time in the 1980s, the saxophone ruled the pop charts, as groups from Hall & Oates to INXS took the instrument to new platinum-selling heights.

Though the sax may have returned to a mostly jazz context as we enter 2015, it is exciting to see South Korean rapper J-Slow bringing the wind instrument into an electro hip-hop context on his new single "Slow Motion," released on Sunday.

Musically, there is a lot going on in "Slow Motion," as J-Slow is clearly an artist expanding his sonic palate. Beyond the saxophone, which is even produced, to sound like the soaring saxophone of Huey Lewis or Bruce Springsteen's bands, the most noticeable musical element of the song is the offbeat syncopation of the keyboard part.

The gritty synth texture is reminiscent of Kanye West's 2007 hit "Flashing Lights," but there are shades of other genres trickling above the sax-synth faceoff in "Slow Motion.

Among them, 1990s West Coast hip-hop, Diplo's distinctively pitched wood block clinks and even that Dirty South drum sound that J-Slow explored more singularly on his 2013 single "Dirty (30)."

Yet, the producer deftly keeps the sounds and styles well organized and, like a well-stirred cake batter, flawlessly blended. And the frosting on the cake is a passionate performance from J-Slow, throwing down rhymes that drift around the eclectic soundscape with deft musicality.

All of the innovation of the producer and songwriter in blending such a diverse collection of styles and sounds is clearly not wasted here.

J-Slow hammers home "Slow Motion," in a performance that should force any true hip-hop head to stand up and take notice.

Who would have thought one of the best Korean rap songs of 2014 would lean so heavily on that classic 1980s saxophone sound?

Watch the new music video from rapper J. Slow, "Slow Motion," RIGHT HERE

Tagged :  J-Slow, Slow Motion, k-rap


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