Warm Brew-The Ride Mixtape Review
I have almost reviewed Warm Brew a lot. When they dropped Kottabos last year it was summer music I couldn’t get a way from, good enough to jam but it seemed like it was missing something. One of those projects that’s right on the line between not good enough to write up and definitely good enough. The crew knew how to project deep atmosphere into tracks but on this years summer outing (The Ride) they pulled all the loose ends together.
First glance at the cover photo brought me right back to one of my favorite albums, Quik is the Name. It’s a special debut from DJ Quik and the last time his focus was on fun, drinking, sex, and craps not death and betrayal. This laid back west coast 1991 party vibe is the building blocks behind The Ride. The first two tracks (Good Morning and the title track) have that familiar west coast soft bass, snapping synthesizer and luscious Nate Dogg-ian hooks. When I call Warm Brew masters of atmosphere I mean that these songs just wash over you.
It’s possible to not even really attend the lyrical content until the wildly fun burbling track Muncheez name-checks enough food (grilled onions fries and extra cheese) to get your stomach rumbling.
Just because they make music to put you in a zone doesn’t mean Warm Brew can’t rap. They make a point to prove it on This and That, first explaining that they have heard the critique that they “can’t rap” before busting out a conventional chest beating rap roar for two minutes and thirty five seconds. It’s good to know they care but as long as Teqnitionz and Al B Smoov can keep making sublime summer music like You Can Roll, as long as Warm Brew can keep riding these beats seamlessly I’ll get my lyrical vitamins elsewhere.
Teqnitionz does get the production MVP nod simply for Man with The Horn, the most beautiful sonic moment on the tape and one of the best this year. The verses flow together and the chemistry in the music seems intensely California; tricking you into relaxing into it while the imagery gets violent and desperate, the beauty of the environment in direct contradiction to its dead end possibilities.
Being all of sixteen tracks you can hear a little bit of transition in the last five or six songs. Tracks like Danny Dee’s Loungin feel more like Little Brother than DJ Quik but the combination of the two sounds forms an interesting hybrid.
The Ride is a mixtape you can put on in your vehicle, roll down the windows, and feel the sun on your face with. I’m not always a believer in attaching music to seasons but Warm Brew is definitely a summer experience. This mixtape makes me want to go over my friend’s house and queue up a boom box while we shoot hoops. It’s refreshing because it not only takes its vibe seriously, it salutes in a very specific way an early 90’s west coast sound that changed the world. It’s great to know that sound still has descendants.
Feel free to stream or download The Ride below: