Though the duo has been rocking together for many years, 2014 was the first time Playdough and DJ Sean P had released an official album as a unit. Sean P has done some cuts and mixes for past Playdough releases, but last year, the two came together for the album Gold Tips. Capitalizing on their love of 80s style hip hop, Gold Tips worked as somewhat of a throwback, but it also featured a heavy dose of modern hip hop. Never dudes to slow down their game, the duo is currently working on a brand new studio album called We Buy Gold, which will probably hit the proverbial shelves later this year. And to help fund the album, and in lieu of a Kickstarter campaign, they're raising funds with another album and a bunch of pre-order bundles.
With this method of fundraising, Playdough and Sean P are putting into our hands an album called 1985 Party Time Excellent. The title is obviously a bit of a reference to the SNL bit/movie Wayne's World (in addition to the title of a couple of YouTube videos the guys did a while back), but it also points out that it's continuing the 80s throwback sound. One could even argue that it's MORE submersed in the 80s hip hop style than Gold Tips. It's also sort of a concept album, and to go even further, it's more like a mixtape than a proper album (concept mixtape?). The entire thing is meant to sound like it's a house party the guys threw, and as such, each song flows directly into the next. So it's not a concept album like mewithoutYou's Ten Stories or the brave Saint Saturn and Oh, Sleeper chronologies, but I feel like the term can still be loosely applied. Regardless of the appropriateness of terminology and labels, it's a great listen.
One of the great things about this release is the plethora of guest vocalists. A duo that goes by the name Tanya Morgan comes in for the second verse of "No Requests" and just absolutely owns the microphone. I'm new to these two, but this verse has caused me to want to investigate their own work. An artist named Koncept rocks his portion of "Don't You Dare," along with J57, while the Bodega Brovas take their respective turns on "Iroc-Z." And in case you're saying, "Wait...who?" to any of these names, you're sure to be pleasantly surprised by some of the other guests. Christian rap legend Soup the Chemist drops some rhymes on "FRESH," and the current line-up of L.A. Symphony cypher through the closing track, "Lah D. Dahdee." My personal favorite guest work is from the members of Deepspace 5 in "Fire." All of the current members of DS5 do a verse, with the exception of Dan Smith (Listener), and it's so nice to hear these guys doing another track together. With no plans for a new DS5 album in the works, this is a great treat, and it gets even better when Playdough comes in at the end with a throwback to the DS5 song "Stick This In Your Ear."
A lot of the rhymes feel rather modern, whether it's Playdough, Koncept, Pigeon John, Manchild, etc. However, there are plenty of rhyme styles here that fit the theme of 1985. Sev Statik's verse fits the bill, and Tanya Morgan's raps brings Run DMC to mind. There are also Sean P's beats that bring 1985 alive. "Do You Like That," "No Requests" and "Iroc-z" are all perfect examples of the style that was popular in the early days of hip hop. Sean P is a seasoned producer and DJ, and the 80s style seems to be a staple in his production across the board; whether it's with Playdough, Move Merchants, or his solo rap album, Stiles For Miles, you can catch some of these sounds all over. One of my favorite things about 1985 Party Time Excellent is all of the 80s references from Playdough and Sean. The guys make jokes about and references to The Goonies, Beverly Hills Cop, Johnny Quest, the Beastie Boys, and more, plus they use lingo and catchphrases from the era such as "radical" and "righteous." They not only say that '85 is alive here, they're actually bringing it back for this release.
This is a hip hop album that any hip hop fan should pick up if they're looking for something fun to just jam out to. In addition, if you feel what Playdough and Sean P have been doing, picking up 1985 Party Time Excellent is a great way to support what they have on deck for later this year with We Buy Gold. This album is available at Playdough's Bandcamp, and it's a super fun and super dope addition to their discography. Be sure to pick up this throwback album and get ready for We Buy Gold.- Review date: 2/25/15, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: None
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