by Alex P80 Parks
Sleep Sinatra is truly a poet. He just happens to rap his poems over beats. On Sources of Nature, The Nebraska emcee continues to explore the ideas of existentialism and spirituality, common tropes that he’s covered in the past with lyrical dexterity. Defining his raps as conscious is only one aspect of Sleep’s skill set as a lyricist. On his latest endeavor, Sleep Sinatra teams up with meticulous beat constructor, New Jersey’s The Custodian of Records.
TCOR chooses samples that are melodic and pleasant, layering them across a track. His beats are well balanced, full of emotion, with crisp and clean drums that never lose the smoky essence of those early samplers. The Custodian brings elements from obscure yet interesting records into his beats, digging for gems the original way.
Quietly becoming a prolific artist, Sleep Sinatra continues to drop multiple projects every year, each of them showing a fine attention to detail and a high level of production. Sleep is seemingly everywhere; likely found on more albums than any other emcee, certainly a top feature of late.
TCOR: “Sleep was featured over a track I sent to Flashius Clayton (Anchorman Fight Scene) and Sleep and I may have corresponded about working on something.. But we did “B.I.E.” and I was impressed by his work ethic. As we worked, gradually a few tracks turned into an EP’s worth of music.”
Sleep: “TCOR Reached out to me around late 17’/early 2018 and shot me a couple beats.. “B.I.E.” Really set it all off. I then picked what would become “Survivalist’s Theme” and it got a pretty strong response immediately. From that point we decided we should probably do a joint project for the sake of the chemistry. What initially started with the intentions of an EP became a full length, the rest is history. ”
“The Poetic Flow of Sleep” The strings loops, jazzy guitar and slow nod of the bass over the punchy snare and crisp hi hat all come together as Sleep tiptoes on it with lines like:
“I was up late night writing,
Conversing with this pen
Searching for my purpose
Puttin in this work until I win.
Never concerned with the trends
Was serving them instead
This is street kid knowledge,
Esoterics in a perfect blend”
“Survivalist’s Theme” The layering of subtle loops and effects can’t go unnoticed here as TCOR creates an ethereal beat that transforms into a triumphant crescendo. Here Sleep spits his concepts and larger ideas assuredly without ever coming across as sanctimonious or self-righteous.
Check it here:
Over a somber trumpet, Sleep is apologetic for being so naive in “A Fools Game,” declaring “silly me,” for being such a fool to think otherwise. Always looking inward while projecting outward. Sleep embodies a true artist, questioning life in the smallest of instances with great consideration.
“Sources of Nature” feature wobbly resonating xylophone and organs with guitar effects to set the tone as Sleep is inspired and focused without forcing his rhymes. On “Scanners” feat Flashius Clayton, both emcees blackout as the beat shifts from an uptempo jazzy scat organ to a lively, lingering guitar solo. “Guerillas in the Mi$t” feat Ca$ablanca is full of punchy drums juxtaposed against tender and crestfallen flute loops. A definite standout is “Ritual” where Sleep just refuses to be confined or typecast. TCOR creates melodic textures through the chopped vocals, pianos and strings. The percussion is always on-point, using a variety of drum sounds to pair with the samples. Sleep rhymes:
Villains round ya building, casing
Nightmares awaken life, keep the steel adjacent
What you facing in environments that’s downtrodden
all them seeds ain’t growin right without the ground plowed in
sound shockwave through the housing and all that.”
A bouncing bassline, swirling strings and bubbling horns bring a retro feel to “Generations” feat Haze. “Blue Ruins” feat Flashius Clayton pulls a vibrant sample of a blazing guitar, echoing organs and whooshing futuristic effects. Flashius comes again with a ferocious verse to wrap up the energetic track. Flash is know to drop some of the finest guest verses in all of hip hop, and his 2 appearances on Source of Nature are no exception.
TCOR: “What I like about Sleep is he doesn’t tell me how to produce and I don’t tell him how to rap.. We both have a mutual respect for the talents we bring to the table. Working with emcees can be tedious and can even cause strife between the producer and emcee so I usually decline collabs… but when I do, I’m usually very hands on with how the final product comes out.”
Sleep: “TCOR is a particular dude, he’s from that era man, he likes things to sound a certain way. Real classic authentic hip hop craftsmen. Very appreciative of him piecing the album together sonically the way he did.”
It’s evident that Sleep really shines over TCOR’s layered beats. From their first tracks a couple years ago to this project, they truly complement one another’s musical stylings but also in their professional approach to collaborative music. When they link on a track Sleep vibes especially well with the jazzy nuances and subtleties that TCOR often creates in his beats. Sources of Nature is a well-constructed collab project from 2 of the more refined artists in underground hip hop. Sleep brings an elevated level of intricate and thoughtful rhymes. With TCOR, the production is carefully considered down to the minutiae, creating beats rich in textures and layered sounds.
TCOR has more in store for 2019 with his upcoming producer album The Sampler Platter. Sleep also has upcoming projects coming this year, including a project with producer Stu Bangas, amongst others.
cop Sources of Nature today with limited Physicals available at Gourmet Deluxxx