DJ Fumiya – Beats for Daddy (2012)

51dVOyK4UxL__SY355_This one I may keep short. First, because these posts are getting too long anyway, and secondly, because readers of this site have never heard of this album anyway. Hell, I hadn’t even heard of it until a few months ago, and I’m a pretty big fan of Rip Slyme, for an American that is. Fumiya is Rip Slyme’s DJ, and probably the most important member of the group, for it was him that transformed them from just another Japanese hip-hop collective using dusty blues samples into something really fun and special. Essentially he’s got that Shibuya-kei or Madchester aesthetic, “anything goes so long as it sounds good”. So Rip Slyme draws from a lot of different genres. leaving it to the MCs to give them a unique sound.  His first solo album Beats for Daddy is an opportunity for him to work with different kinds of vocalists, or to do more work with sampling. And there are a lot of guests on this thing, from up-and-comers to Bakubaku Dokin to established hip-hop acts like Rhymester or Diplo. Also, a lot of “who knows?”, like Trippple Nippples, Kazuko Kurosawa, and Chinzo Dopeness.

Whoever they are, the important thing is that outside of the Diplo remix it’s not really a showcase for any of them, as Fumiya has a clear vision for all of these tracks. Typically, that doesn’t happen on these sort of albums – see my Teriyaki Boyz review for a good example of letting the guests do most of the work. Here, Fumiya clearly wants to create some kind of Shibuya-kei overdrive; like Plus-Tech Squeeze Box, or Fantastic Plastic Machine at his most ridiculous. Think of Rip Slyme singles like “Speed King” or “Good Day” and you’re basically there; it’s all sugar and no edge, but this time having female singers allows him to add to the sweetness. Both “Bumbrity” and “Love Jigoku” feature women with voices that go really high, which is appropriate, given how the music bounces around like it’s stuck in a pinball machine.

Elsewhere you’ve got a few tracks that probably could’ve been Rip Slyme – “Jyanai?” which continues Fumiya’s obsession with 60’s surf rock, and the cut-up breakbeat track “Continue?”, some more DJ-oriented stuff (“Fantastique”, “Energy Force”, “Here We Go”), and the requisite take on Bossa Nova that all these albums seem to have (“Tokyo Love Story”). So, there is some variety, but they all kind of have the same idea, which is to find something that works and hammer the hell out of it. Sure, there are some choruses and bridges, but things don’t exactly change up a lot. When he hits upon a good chorus or loop, you’ll hear it over and over again, and whatever diversions exist are only really there to maximize its impact the next time around.

So it’s a stable of one-trick ponies, but they’re good tricks. I mean, this is true Album of the Week material, since once it digs its hooks into you, you’ll want to listen to it over and over again until you’re absolutely sick of it. You know how an album will have that tune that’s so deliriously bouncy and catchy that you want to put it on repeat for half an hour? Beats for Daddy has FIVE of those, everything from tracks 2 to 7 outside of “Energy Force” (also good, but sort of a long interlude). Take “Hotcake Samba”, which takes all the breezy, feel-good elements of samba and throws them all together, creating something that’s fun and lightweight while shuffling around ten different elements at once. Or “Love Jigoku” which is so over-the-top in its enthusiasm that Ryo-Z’s verses seem utterly out of place (he’s nearly cracking up through them).

It doesn’t catch lightning in a bottle the whole way through, but at least everything else has enough of a tune (or a gimmick) to work. It’s also worth noting that the album is pretty brief. Well, it’s 40 minutes, but it feels short; the four-and-five minute track times almost seem like an illusion, as they seem to fly by so quickly.  My copy comes with a megamix at the end, which feels a bit redundant, but I don’t mind hearing pieces of these tracks again, as the hooks are just that good.  And what beats that?  Listen below…

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