Album: Zion III
Artist: 9th Wonder
Sub-Genres: J-Dilla Sound
Label: It’s A Wonderful World Music Group
Non-Airable Tracks: All
The first track, “A-OK All Day” on the album has a nice laid-back funk rhythm that puts a smile on your face like the first time you hear “Mary Jane” by Rick James in the movie “Friday”. Even if you don’t partake in the marijuana you still feel that instant deep relaxation trace come over you due to how catchy that funky background beat is.
“Can’t Stop Boogie” has the feel of a laid-back instrumental track in the beginning and then it starts to get faster like a funky 90s beat.
“SuperFamFunk!!!” is easily the funkiest track on the album as the beat stays consistent with regards to both the bass and the drums. It reminds me a P-Funk rhythm or Kool and The Gang rhythm that morphs into the closest hip-hop I have ever heard to that being put out by Blackalicious. One of my favorites amongst the rest for sure.
“To Jersey” has a background where only the main beat remains the same, there add to the ever-changing lyricism. The end result feels like a flawlessly multi-layered song.
“Take It Back Soul!!!” is hard to describe in words other than that it has a nice progression.
“3rdChildhoodBoogie” has a nice funky hip-hop beat and is purely instrumental from start to finish.
“WalkWithMeFunk!!!!!” reminds me of everything I have ever loved about the music of the Isley Brothers, easy-going progressions yet a slightly funky R&B beat is just as present at lower audio levels as the vocals themselves to start, then both become more intense as the song moves along. Especially during those more emotional parts of the song.
“SoFamiliar” has a beat similar to the slightly funky hip-hop beats that you hear coming out these days as a catch lyric like “Girl you such a ho” is repeated time and time again.
“CoastinSoul!!!!!” has the playful soulful rhythm that one might hear in a 213 jam like “I’m Fly” – and I love that song – so it is refreshing that this song should remind me of it.
“KillerFunk!!!” has a solid intro as it has this really cool and playful background that sounds like someone playing on a electronic xylophone equivalent. It is funky sounding too as the hip-hop beat is layered on top. I love that the track is purely instrumental. For it opens the door to all sorts of future freestyle remixes. Praise this instrumental track. My favorite instrumental on the track upon listening through this album.
“RightTouchJam!!!!” is another instrumental track that sounds like the rhythm is building up to something like an epic battle, yet the words aren’t there. So it is up to you to interpret the beats’ hidden meaning.
“Whole Life”, has a nice intro when he says “Yo you got me feeling like…I’m living a different life.” When I heard that I was like, “Ok I am hyped to follow you now homie.” Then he drops the bar: “Even if the b**** cold no sweater!” I was like: “Oh! No he didn’t!”
“CrushinYallVillas!!!!!” has a caribbean rhythm married with a funky hip-hop beat. Although it sounds different from anything I have ever heard before I admittedly liked.
“OhItsYouBabe!” breaths like any popular Marvin Gaye song, both in the easy-going vocal delivery and timeless R&B rhythm that is being placed behind it.
“Lonely Nights” goes from a hard-hitting rap song to a funky R&B rhythm to more rapping in one flawless-sounding transition. It completely takes you out of your element the very first time you hear it.
“LetGoooooo!!!!!!”, has pauses like a DJ scratching, so there’s that and it has easy going vocals. Not bad for a simpler track.
“GladAboutIt!!!!, has a progression that makes you want to stomp your foot and bob your head along with its funky vibes.
“BestForGawwwwd!!!!”, has real nice backing vocals with just as much soul as Alicia Keys while a funky hip-hop beat rolls on.
“OurFatherrrrrrr!!!!!”, has deeply religious-sounding undertones in the rhythm portion of the song.
“MissYouDearGirl!!!!”, feels like a Temptations song from the minute what sounded like a female vocalist comes on the mic…the start of the song. It definitely surprised me to hear what sounded like a female vocalist as opposed to a male vocalist evolve into a doo-wop sounding male vocalist.
“Won’t Preteeeend!!!!”, has a distant-sounding funky hip-hop rhythm.
The rest of the album sounds like beautiful marriage between funky hip-hop beats and R&B rhythms. Beautifully orchestrated instrumentals for the hip hop lover in all of us to enjoy and take in at your own pace, as the album is hefty yet filled with bangers.
Sounds Like: Funky Hip-Hop, 1950s Swing, Strong Instrumentals
Track 1: A-Ok All Day
Track 2: Can’t Stop Boogie
Track 3: SuperFamFunk!!!
Track 14: Coastin Soul!!!!!!
Track 22: OhItsYouBabe!!!!
Track 25: Lonely Nights
Track 28: BestForGawwwd!!!!
Reviewer’s Name: Jon S. Rice