Two years after the release of his critically acclaimed LP The Recipe, Amiri Gamble returns on the scene with his new album entitled Vinyl Ritchie.  Named after the standout track "Vinyl Ritchie (2006)" off his last album, The Recipe, Amiri's sophomore effort brings back much of the same soulful production and boom-bap that his fans have come to expect.

From the offset, there’s no question that this LP is a solid production effort.  Amiri offers his trademark sample heavy production with precision on tracks like the soulful “Introducing”, the super smooth “Time To Shine”, and the headbanger “Like This Y'all.”  While the beats score high in listenability, flow-wise Amiri is one hell of a tranquil MC.  His laidback vibe fits perfectly on smoother tracks such as “We Had” or “A Dreamer” but after a while he can become a touch monotone.  Still Amiri manages to hold his own alongside his old partner in rhyme Spectac on the spirited relationship ode “Take Our Time”.

Topically, the album covers a myriad of subjects and what’s most impressive is that Amiri delivers smoothly and consistently even while maneuvering between topics that can be at times personal and even syrupy.  On “I Give Thanks” Amiri is not just rhyming about appreciation, but about promoting unity and progressive vibes: “Why wear a disguise when I can be myself?  There’s more to life than the women, the cars, and the wealth.  We need to help one another sisters and brothers.”  Then Amiri candidly shares vivid depictions of his failed relationships over “Almost.”

“The Pro’s”, arguably one of the LP’s strongest tracks, is a breezy melodic rhythm combined with a hypnotically soulful sample, a tough baseline and hardy verses by Amiri which rounds the album off nicely.

Vinyl Richie, with Amiri boasting smooth and mostly heartfelt flows and delivering pointed sample-driven production, is a noteworthy release that solidifies Amiri as an undeniable force in the underground hip-hop scene.

-Andrea D. Wilson