From the days when Aerosmith and Run DMC taught us how to walk to today’s hybrid groups such as Black-Eyed Peas and N.E.R.D, the combination of rock and hip-hop has always been a highly infectious match-up. With is self-titled debut, rapper Shwayze brings his own interpretation of this formula to the turntables, rolling alternative rock and hip-hop together like a tight blunt and leaving you chilled out on his old-school sound. Smooth tunes are the backdrop for Shwayze’s tales of the beaches and streets of his hometown of Malibu, California where the days are spent hanging out, partying, and smoking… weed.
Shwayze is not one, but a group of three. The group consists of lead emcee Shwayze and Cisco Adler, who is the son of Lou Adler and front man of the band Whitestarr. DJ Skeet Skeet rounds out the trio. The group formed after Adler watched Shwayze commandeer the stage at a venue where Whitestarr was playing. Shwayze delivered a nifty line about being “the only black kid in Malibu” as Whitestarr’s drummer backed him up on percussion. The crowd went wild. Shwayze and Adler started talking and began recording soon after. Shwayze brings smooth hip-hop rhymes while Adler provides his chilled out brand of alternative rock.
And their hometown serves as the locale and inspiration for their album. With his simple and sophisticated flow, Shwayze delivers the last cat-call of summer 2008, painting vivid word pictures of all the sights and sounds of the beach, streets, and parties of California. Adler lends his voice on each of the album’s 13 songs, and his choruses and melodies are simple and catchy. The accompanying tunes, which incorporate light drum samples and acoustic and electric guitar riffs, are easy listening. This is due to the fact that the songs are geared towards the stoner crowd, but it is still the best aspect of the album.
Highlights of the album include the single “Buzzin,” a reflection about “backyard block parties by the bar.” In “Corona and Lime,” the album’s second single, Shwayze talks about girls all over America who coincidentally “like hip-hop and rock and roll.” Other notable tracks include “Lazy Days,” and “Polaroid.” The latter features Shwayze chanting “they call me Shwayze, kind of like Patrick,” over a beat that is sure to get partygoers dirty dancing.
If you’re expecting an album that sounds mainstream, you may be turned off by Shwayze’s sound, which is slightly more underground and independent. Also, if you have an aversion to songs with weed references you might want to pass by this album because you would find yourself skipping over most of the songs. All in all, Shwayze’s debut is solid, with good production and lyrical substance.
You don’t have to necessarily smoke or live on the streets of Cali to get into the grooves of Shwayze. Simply reflect on the joys of summer: the hot sun, the infinite, lazy days spent doing nothing, and the friends you spent those days with, and you will be right at home in Shwayze’s world.Powered by Sidelines