It’s really easy to nod your head to Unagi’s Unagi For Lovers, but something about it seems like you’ve heard it before—or maybe that’s because it’s over before you have a chance to register each song separately. The Bay-Area producer’s latest release is a collection of five (mostly) instrumental songs playing like an old school soundtrack to a summer’s day. Unagi For Lovers sounds instantly vintage as the producer blends funk and soul samples with hip-hop sensibility, weaving a unique love story with his beats.
Starting with the warm and light-hearted “Hello Girl” (an ode to the art of the holla), the album progressively hits harder on “Afternoon Stroll” with the addition of more percussive instrumentation that is nicely juxtaposed with the softer elements of Unagi’s production and sample selections. Awkwardly thrust into the mix, and breaking up the love story’s flow, is the weakest song on the album, “Let Me Talk To You.” A remix of the Masters of Illusions track, it’s the crude play-by-play to a teenage boy’s wet dream—think: breasts and threesomes—over the album’s most mediocre beat and could have easily been left out.
Although at times non-descript, each love story that Unagi crafts with his beats is tailored to the listener. Unagi might not be winning battles as an emcee—he raps on the albums closer—but as an entity Unagi For Lovers should be commended for its imaginative production.