There’s no way I couldn’t include this on my list (audio)
Call it cheating if you want, but I needed to find a way to give this collection the praise it deserves. And notice I used the word “collection”. This is not an album per say: a lot, if not all of these tracks were floating around Stro Elliot‘s bandcamp and Soundcloud for years (I first heard “Soul II Stro” all the way back in 2012/2013, maybe). If anything, you could probably call this a “Best of…” and you wouldn’t be wrong. But then again, most “Best of…” collections aren’t as tight as this.
There isn’t a wasted moment on this collection, period. Full stop. Every song on here show’s off what Stro Elliot does best: creative sample chops, chunky as hell drums, and surprisingly, a knack for a good hook. All these elements are present on every song, but it never feels like he’s repeating himself. There’s pretty wide variety of textures and sounds on here, but make no mistake, these are hip-hop beats – the album never digresses into another genre. And as a listening experience, the track sequencing is perfect, allowing for some of the more “hype”-tracks to start off sides A and B to get you excited before finishing out with some of the more spacier tracks flesh out the rest of the side.
Really, my only complaint with this is that it’s just too short. Stro Elliot must have at least an hour worth of material floating around the internet, and while what we get here is truly the cream of the crop, I think this is one time I could’ve used a little more music.
But all in all, Stro Elliot, probably my favorite beat maker/producer of 2016, and all this collection did was just reconfirm that. This probably would’ve been this my #1 album if it had come out a bit sooner than late December here. Here’s hoping this is a sign that we’ll be hearing more from the man in 2017!