Album Review of the debut LP from Beat maker, Matt Kuartz.
U.K. Producer, Matt Kuartz releases his debut LP, Shurikens. Usually you can find Matt Kuartz releases on Brain Food and San Francisco, 77 Rise Recordings. Now, Kuartz finds a new home for distribution, Village Live Records. Providing a cassette and vinyl release. So lets jump into this album and see what the hype is all about!
First off, How do you review a beat tape? When reviewing an album the usual criteria is dissect Lyrics, cohesiveness, production, content and sometimes context. So lets review this album by: Style, Attention span, Vibes, artist growth and of course production.
**Before we start the review, i would like to stress that these are MY views, opinions, and overall experience of the album. Leave a comment below the review to share your views on what you thought on the album. Press play below and read along***
Shurikens begins with Get This. A cluster of horns open the door to the world Matt Kuartz creates. The track is led by a heavy snare and D.J. scratches. One of the great things about this track is it’s not a loop. Kuartz music is full of layers and never bores me.
Ayo slowly fades in. With a dominant Willy Wonka wind chime’s leading the track. An eerie scream sits in the background while a New York style drum kit blesses the track. This is just the beginning of what this LP is capable of.
Vibe, once again Kuartz flexes his skill on the pads. All while keeping layers in. The Horns assist in leading this track to a beautiful conclusion. Vibe is also a foreshadow to the 90’s vibes he gives throughout the album.
Lord Merci starts off with vocals from a Reggae type character. The beat once again is layered beautifully. You start off in the early 90’s while arcade like sound effects play and a mellow piano keys. Before you can pin point where you are the track is, it’s over and he moved on. This to me is what experiencing an album is all about and adds replay value to the LP. Keep up!
Dammm to me is the only song that falls flat for me. For being a debut album, I was listening for progression. Don’t get it twisted, it’s still an enjoyable track. For me, the piano work sounds like something off of Adventures With Kuartz. Fortunately, this is the only time Kuartz reverts back to a past project.
Aiiiiiight, well damn, this shut me up real quick! Kuartz takes listeners to New York on this one. This track has a great DJ Premiere influence but Kuartz fingerprints are the most prominent. Brass and horns are Shurikens glory and they are displayed in a great way on this track here. This track is a MASTERPIECE! Aiiight!
Murdah is loud. It pops speakers and doesn’t let you catch your breath. Its straight up New York! What i envision while listening to the track is it’s a soundtrack a heist in New York. A chase in Manhattan. Pick pocketing exchanges. Matt Kuartz really makes you travel on this album. These tracks are cinematic and contributes so much to the culture.
Check It (This Shit) is a mellow vibe countered with aggressive vocals. The high hats work creatively with the snare and the background bass is subtle. Kuartz flexes once again. Bass line is added to his arsenal and this is the first of the tracks where he utilizes a bass line in a great way. He is riding his biggest wave with this album.
Gunshotta blew me away. It sounds nostalgic. East coast keys and a west coast bass line. Something like Dr. Dre’s Deep Cover. Again, Kuartz utilizes the horns in a great way and the record is a hit! So much flavor.
Werd samples Little Ghetto Boys……one of my favorite Wu-Tang joints! On top the nostalgia. Bass line is groovy, snares kick nicely and has a great east coast flavor. Do I also hear a sample from Cypress Hill, Illusions? So dope! Producers never want to share who they sampled.
Streets Is Missing U has a great narrative. It has this subtle drama to it. It feels unsettling and the Character feels conflicted. Kuartz creats a soundtrack on this track.
Blessup – Sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a western set in Japan.
Nu Vizionz sounds dangerous. Kuartz takes us on an audio journey on the next few tracks. Close your eyes and see what he conducts.
Rck is pure homage, to me. East coast keys and scratches open a door to the past.
The Way is dope! Kuartz kicks down the door with a clean snare and rocking bells for a hi-hat. This has Kuartz finger prints all over it. With its soul sample and layered sounds going progressing as the track plays, it great. It’s such an enjoyable song. It concludes with a combination of jazz improvisation. Wonderful!
Fr3style – sounds like it was taken from an early Nas lost tapes. Its great. It has the vinyl crackle to distinguish its age. Scratches to modernize it and a high pitch keys to bring on early New York nostalgia. Ayewun will thrive on this track.
Loudah I really enjoy the characters that show up on this LP. Again, great nostalgia on this record. This is what makes Matt Kuartz work so enjoyable. Extending himself like this is really working for him.
Its Lyke – Kuartz loves his Hip-Hop and this is his love letter to the culture
OG MVPS – Homage, Homage, Homage. Kuartz creates a soundtrack to the greats narrating the beginning of this great culture.
KIR – Mobb Deep need to jump on this track. This screams New York. Kuartz has found a way to re-create the golden era flavor of New York and make it his own.
Yeaa – This to me, sounds like Kuartz winding down the album. Creating a mellow vibe while keeping the nostalgia coming. Boom Bap, boom bap!
Shawty Lah – The swan song of the album. Boom Bap, rolling snares and kicks are superb on this one. Matt Kuartz has created a masterpiece on this LP and this is the bow on top. Ladies and gentlemen, Kuartz gift to us is his skill and love for the culture.
Matt Kuartz has taken a giant step forward by going back into the golden era and pulling out the signature sounds and themes from that time and recreating it in his own, beautiful way. Kuartz has made a CLASSIC beat tape. Shurikens is a different beast.
Only time will tell if Kuartz will be setting a trend with this sound. But as fans, we know where it all started. With Shurikens.
$upport the art, support the man himself and share this album. Thank you for riding with me on this album review. I know it was long and may be a little odd and corny but, I felt I had to break this down for those who just here a beat. If you make beats then you can appreciate this.
If you don’t, watch these channels here to learn exactly what goes into making a beat and it will help to make listening more enjoyable.
From Hiphopundead, my name is Sammy, saying peace!