Review: The Emotional Hip Hop Instrumentals 2010-2013


Beat alchemist, producer and artist Jay Flames is back with a ten track project in which he breaks into his vault of what seems to be a never ending reservoir of brilliant instrumentals. Here he presents a 10 track opus where he treats us with with different genres, from the ultra smooth “Jack Daniels” to the soulful “Keys Of Snow”.

You can hear all these tracks on YouTube now, or using the player below.

Let’s dive in.

1. Jack Daniels
This instrumental starts the proceedings off. It’s a mid tempo affair with a hypnotic sax solo, and a female voice adlib. The drums boost it up nicely, and you can imagine a female MC over the top even though there is a male saying “Take away the pain”. I could imagine this being released on a vinyl run, and if it wasn’t for the era we are in I’d say it would have comfortably sat in a late 90s catalogue.

2. Cowboy Hippie
What I like about Jay’s instrumentals and his music in general is that you shouldn’t get too comfortable with what you hear initially. He will switch on you and you end up thinking…. WHOAH! Where did that come from. This starts off with a western feel with a violin that’s played at vibrato. Then the beat drops. You could imagine this being used in a Quentin Tarantino film in the background, where everything is quite surreal. It’s just one of those tracks you could just groove to, and the hook is catchy as hell!

3. All Night Fight
This is easily my favourite track, as it throws back to the 80s with the popping synths, and the 808 drums, Well played, makes me think of when I went to Covent Garden for the first time and I saw breakdancers for the first time, pre internet so this was a whole new experience for me, 9 years old and seeing those guys busting moves it had a profound experience. This put me in a DeLorean and took me back to the summer of 1984, the only thing missing was the scratching over the top.

4. Welcome To The Lavish Life
Ahhh back to the smooth grooves with this one, congas, nicely played piano, and the drums chugging along. It’s got a very Latin feel to it, and just needs a smokey female vocal over the top. Chaka where you at??? Or even Lauryn? Nice flute solo over the top too.

5. Emotional Mess
This starts off promisingly, and just gets better as it goes, you can just imagine a group of MCs on it too, with each one spitting their own bars, it sounds like golden era hip hop and so chilled. I like this one.

6. Herbal Treatment
Oooh this one’s smooth. Nice piano part, smoky after party vibe on this one, 4am in a club in Soho when everyone’s going home and the morning shift is just starting… the beat could do with a vocalist with Eryckah Badu as her spirit animal or maybe even Black Thought doing his thing over it…

7. F A M O U S
DX7 Epiano1 patch – I can smell that from a mile off. This is battling to be my favourite track on an album that is full of straight out bangers, it’s making it hard for me to choose my stand out favourite… but this comes close. The hi hats are really nice on this, I can hear some sweet harmonies over this too.

8. 80s Drugs Cartel
This has the feel of a mix of a terrible 80s film but with a badass soundtrack. Don’t let the title fool you, it’s a little more friendlier than that but you could just imagine Steve Lukather coming in and playing a blistering guitar solo in the middle with your choice of rock vocalist – where’s Steve Perry when you need him? Easily one of my favourite tracks on the whole project.

9. Words Can’t Explain
Back to the smooth jazz. One thing you cannot complain about is JFlames and his drums, they just glisten. That snare sounds sweet. The bass may have been put through a wah because it sounds warped and I love it, with a flute solo counterbalancing the synth lead in the foreground.

10. Keys of Snow
The guitar…. The flute…. The oboe…. It’s like Jay raided his parents vinyl collection to make a mix tape for that hot girl he saw in the playground at school when he was a kid then dropped his flavour on it… This is Jay at his finest, this is the kind of thing I’d listen to at the end of the day, on the way home when things open again.

All in all a beautiful compilation, it goes to show that when Jay goes quiet for a bit he’s not truly quiet. He’s cooking up those beats and representing South London in a big way as always. He’s a musical chameleon and this project proves that. MORE PLEASE!

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Del Osei-Owusu

Del is a songwriter, producer, keyboard player arranger and musical nerd from South London, Del comes from a gospel music background but listens to anything, everything and nothing. Read More

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