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Crate Digging: Ben Dorenfeld, Anomaly


The twenty-fourth episode in the music discovery and discussion series from Concord Label Group

Crate Digging: Ben Dorenfeld, Anomaly

Crate Digging is a music discovery platform where contributors take home and discuss two records from across Concord Label Group’s active and historical labels.

Ben Dorenfeld, Director of Music at Anomaly, discusses his top two finds.

My frontline choice is Denzel Curry’s Melt My Eyez See Your Future. Denzel Curry is one of my favorite artists of the past 5+ years. Charismatic, deliberate and innovative, he proves to be unrestricted by both genre and style as evidenced by his latest release, 2022's Melt My Eyez See Your Future. 

A departure from works like TA13OO, ZUU and the greatest cover of "Bulls On Parade'' to be made, Melt My Eyez draws inspiration from jazz, r&b, spoken word, and classic hip-hop. Its features include contemporaries who have released some of my other favorites of 2022 including Rico Nasty, JID, and Robert Glasper

But for me, it's Denzel's solo tracks that stand out and exemplify his innate ability to do anything. The transition on "Walkin" from East Coast boom bap to Southern Rap is so effortless. Curry makes it sound easy and every time I play it back, I grin when that beat hits.

"The Ills", the album's closer, is easy listening hip-hop with powerful lyrics. Denzel's flow reminds me of Double K from People Under the Stairs, which I love, and the production is equal parts gritty, smooth, and undeniably classic.

As we embark on 2023, I'm excited about whatever's next for Denzel as an artist. I have no idea what to expect and that's what I find so inspiring about him.

Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth by 24 Carat Black is one of the most underappreciated albums of all time. Despite being sampled numerous times by some of the most iconic artists of the past 30 years, having articles written on it and most recently being featured in the 33 1/3 series just a few years ago, many are unfamiliar with the masterpiece.

I was initially drawn to the album by the band name and cover art. It's intentional, it's bold, and it feels like something that could have been released last year let alone 50 years ago but that's just scratching the surface.

A concept album of 8 songs released in 1973, Ghetto explores themes of poverty in the Black inner city experience through spoken word, soul, funk, and r&b. The production, which includes a full orchestra, is all at once cinematic, raw, elegant, and ahead of its time.

The suspenseful organ and piano misdirect on "Synopsis One: In The Ghetto / God Save The World" immediately reels you in and is followed by a spoken word and piano accompaniment before concluding with a soul ensemble. It feels like an entire body of work in 8 minutes and yet it's just the beginning. The instrumentals are hypnotic and would enhance any type of media for sync.

It's an album that demands and receives your full attention from start to finish. 50 years later, it stands the test of time and it's unlike anything I've ever heard. Sadly, as relevant as it is musically, so too is it conceptually.

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Concord Label Group, Thu, 02 Mar 2023 09:02:00 GMT