BJ Smith - Umi Says / Runnin [NUNS002]
The follow up to BJ Smiths debut album on NuNorthern Soul, The Movedrill Projects is a very special double A-Side release, both covers of classic 90s Hip-Hop respectfully tilted ‘Dedications to the Greats’. As the doffing of the cap to the originals suggests they are two faithful covers but ones that offer a new interpretation, adding a twist to the rich history of each track.
Released 28th January 2013
The first sees him re-interpret Mos Def’s groundbreaking ‘Umi Says’, a song that famously showcased the emcee’s singing voice as opposed to his blistering raps. Here Ben retains the heritage of Mos’ harmonious vocals whilst replacing the scattershot drums of the original with a sweeping, almost orchestral feel. Acoustic guitars then elevate the otherworldliness of the lyrics, a paean to positivity that aims to showcase the advice delivered to him as a child (Umi is Arabic for mother).
The other cut sees Ben getting to grips with The Pharcyde’s Jay Dilla produced ‘Runnin’, the lead single from the Californian group’s sophomore album ‘Labcabincalifornia’. The original has featured on the soundtracks to hit TV show ‘Entourage’ and hip-hop movie ‘8 Mile’, and here Ben transforms the mellow Hip-Hop masterpiece into a gorgeous slab of pared back folk. The verses shift from raps into a softly sung opening gambit, then harnessing the infectious melody before ending in a blissed out juxtaposition of flute and strings; a mesmerising combination that is sure to become sunset favourites for decades to come.
Gilles Peterson (UK) – The sound of sunrises for years to come
Rainer Truby (Germany) – Sublime 10 out of 10
Rob Luis / Tru Thoughts (UK) – A great cover… Supported on Unfold radio show 13th Jan 2013
Ross Allen (UK) – Nice versions, will support.
Kon (USA) – Well done.. almost as if the group America had done covers.
Qool DJ Marv (USA) – Played Runnin’ at the World famous Apollo Theatre last weekend and Umi Says is the opener for my debut radio show in Philadelphia!
Frank Booker, Hit it and Quit It (NZ) – Really love these. The weather in NZ is stunning at the moment, and these fit the bill perfectly! Will be supporting in full on radio and around the traps. Great stuff