There’s a such thing as “the groove,” and as far as I’m concerned, “the groove” is something that can only be felt, but never accurately or adequately described. It’s a visceral thing — something you only know exists when it’s there. Many have tried to emulate it, creating bootlegs and shrunken, pale interpretations of it, but there’s nothing like the real thing. Well, the groove has returned, thanks to Marc Mac.
Marc Mac is best known for his work with 4hero. Now he’s spearheading a new venture, Visioneers, and taking his platform of Hipology to the next level. Hipology is the name of the new album, but it’s also, sort of, a school of thought, sort of like KRS-1’s Temple of Hip-Hop. It’s premise is that hip-hop is a vein running though much of our lives, and in most of our music. It’s more than just a boom-bap. It’s more like a boom, a bap, a bip, a blam, a blast, a crash, and everything else. While I tend to agree with this philosophy and would love to delve into a diatribe about this, I was simply asked to review his album. So…
What we have in Hipology (the album) is a smorgasbord of groove. From the first song, “Back In Time,” a track that could’ve easily been one of Dilla’s, we get everything we love about hip-hop circa 1999. The drum, the guitar, the horn, the melodic chorus, the musicality. Not to mention the rhymes laid down by Baron and Trac. Just good music. Smile music. And that’s pretty much all you get for the whole album. A sound that comes from an obvious student of music and perveyor of amazing mood, through song.
From there we get an amazing remake of “Shaft in Africa.” It’s just as funky as the original, but a touch slower, but that guitar chuck and wah is still there, driving it. Then we get hit hard with “Rocket Man,” my favorite track, which is appropriately subtitled, “Afrolatin Joint.” It’s a nice bossa groove that I really feel like I could party to, relax to, or just listen to all day long. And of course, there’s a little synthesized stoner music called, “Come And Play in the Milky Way.” Yeah.
Just so I’m clear (I can get a bit tangential when I’m excited) most of this album is instrumental, infusing jazz, and soul, funk and afrolatin music together. Yet I can’t help but think of it as a hip-hop album even though it technically isn’t. Or is it? Well iTunes called it Jazz. But I’m pretty sure the point of Hipology, the album and the philosophy is to challenge what hip-hop is, and to celebrate the fact that hip-hop is music’s never ending circle. It was born from soul and funk and jazz, and now it goes back into those genres to reinvent them. And that, like this album, is an amazing thing.