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Ron Rico: Music In Me Instrumentals

Ron Rico: Music In Me Instrumentals

Label:Music In Me Productions
Release Date:2008

By Al Shipley | Posted 8/27/2008

Ronald "Ron Rico" Matthews, Jr. is a producer who seems to further reveal his versatility with every new project. With his Baltimore club music work, he made his name setting samples from cartoons to springy dance tracks. As the primary producer on several releases from local rapper Mike Malachi, he displayed an ear for soulful retro hip-hop. And with his two solo albums, last year's Extra-Terrestrial Instrumentals Vol. 1 and the more recent Music in Me Instrumentals, Rico sounds to be summoning the ghost of J Dilla for some blunted, off-kilter beats, with no MCs in sight to interrupt the grooves.

In the space of just over half an hour, Music in Me Instrumentals runs through 20 tracks, most of them playing out as simple loops with occasional variations. But it's not the frequency with which the disc leaps from one idea to the next so much as the way Rico strings them all together with shrewd sequencing. The spiraling vocal samples of "Brother Man," which bring to mind Lil Wayne's similar "Let the Beat Build," dovetail seamlessly into the warm upright bass of "Don't Change Me (I'm Ready)." And the syrupy balladry of "Sweeter" gives way to the thumping drums of "Pimpin." Malachi or another rapper would be wise to cherry-pick the best of Rico's instrumental releases for future collaborations. But as bodies of work unto themselves, they still function as solid listens, not merely works in progress to sample and discard.

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