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Review: South Korean Rapper Paloalto Keeps His Cool On 'Ideal Moment' From The New Album 'Chief Life' [AUDIO]

By Staff Writer | November 27, 2013 07:40 PM EST


In the early days of hip-hop, you knew right away it was a rap song, no matter who the artist was, because of the beat.

In the four decades since, the parameters of what makes a good rap beat have widened considerably. And today's rapper is expected to deliver against virtually any musical backdrop in order to become a superstar in the mold of Jay-Z or Kanye West.

On his new album "Chief Life," released earlier this week, South Korean rapper Paloalto demonstrates the prerequisite versatility with ease, flowing over a wide range of styles and sounds, from the stutter step of the single "Au Revoir" to the syrup-soaked Southern hip-hop sound of "Circle."

But of all the vibes that Paloalto experiments with on "Chief Life" the sound that seems to suit him best is the chilled out retro-synth of the song "Ideal Moment."

Paloalto's rapping on "Ideal Moment" is as powerful as ever, with the fire and the fury that he is known for.

But the round keyboard jazz reminiscent of both 1970s West Coast funk and the 1980s Native Tongues artists like Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul that sampled it, cools out Palo's flow in satisfying ways.

The song is produced with a soft touch with a clear ear for sound quality. The square wave modular synth bass is really something. Offering the song its irresistible bump.

Like a lot of artistic mediums hip-hop is best when it has several disparate elements working in concert.

Many of hip-hop's greatest producers like The RZA or Pete Rock are genius at bringing things you'd never expect together and making them seem perfect, kind of like the world's best cities.

In this way, Paloalto's "Ideal Moment" delivers a diversity that is satisfyingly original. A jazz band attacked by electro dance duo with a hip-hop drummer; for the veteran indie rapper it probably sounds just about right.

Listen to 'Ideal Moment' by Paloalto RIGHT HERE


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