free download: jazz/soul/hip-hop artist rippy austin’s new ep “patiently waiting” is a hell of a ride. #soundcheck

March 20, 2013

I was 14 when I heard “Rebirth of Cool vol. 4” for the first time. I had just finished digesting the complete canon of Classic Rock. Zeppelin didn’t thrill me anymore. Aerosmith never really did. I was dipping my toes into indie and punk, but hadn’t quite found my way into that world (we didn’t have the internet yet. I distinctly remember getting into an argument with someone that summer in which I took the position that “punk can’t be dead, because The Dead Kennedys!” Not realizing they’d broken up 13 years earlier.) But here was something new. A mix of jazz, hip-hop, ambient, trip-hop and soul. It’s been 15 years, and I’m still not totally sure what to call that sound. Too mellow to dance to, too abstract and bold to serve as background music. Lush, vibrant, challenging, and deep. Listening to Rippy Austin’s new EP Patiently Waiting, I’m 14 again with headphones on in the theatre sound booth. Synth strings washing over me like waves. Clicky minimal beats chime in the background. An MC with a flow more like a beat poet pushed deep down in the mix. And I can’t help but ask myself again, “Is this the future?”

Probably not. But that doesn’t diminish the EP. You have to admire the boldness of a hip-hop record that waits until the 4th track to actually have something recognizable as a beat. The EP jumps from a synth-laden “Intro” (tragic that it’s not longer, it has some of the best lyrics on the EP) to a complete deconstruction of Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson” that uses the chorus as a springboard for some slinky jazz guitar. “One Day” and “L.O.V.E.” hold down the center of the album as the two most “traditional” songs. But both take their share of detours, focused more on atmosphere than hooks. 14 year old me would have had his mind blown. 29 year old me still pretty much did.
The EP is available as a free download in the music player above.

– Words by Nathan Leigh