high society cover

Fans of the smoothed-out Physics debut, Future Talk rejoice! The High Society EP is a little something to hold you over until the trio’s next full-length comes along. And, just like their debut, you can groove along to High Society with your headphones plugged in, or in your car cruising down Alki Beach. Either option succeeds in delivering the new Seattle summer soundtrack for 2009.

The music on High Society is Seattle’s own updated version of early to mid 90’s Native Tongue-style hip-hop. The influences are all here, including the jazz inflections, laid-back flows, and straight-up J. Dilla/Ummah-style beats. Thankfully, the production respectfully imitates more than it mimics, which means the music is allowed to proudly display its roots while still remaining mostly fresh.

Standout tracks include “Back Track” which is specifically an homage to The Physics’ influences (Wu and Tribal are named) and “The Session,” an addictive fusion of jazz instrumentation and futuristic sound effects where the rhymes are delivered two and four bars at a time via a playful back-and-forth between all three members of The Physics and a catchy saxophone riff.

There is one annoying track, “I Just Wanna Beat.” Ugh, once again it’s the dreaded Sex Joint. You know, the one about picking up shorties at the club and taking them home “just to hit it?” We’ve all done it, we all know it happens, so why do rappers insist on making songs about it? (Actually, the track “Good” is based on the same concept, but at least it’s done cleverly and with a hilarious verse by Macklemore.) Anyway, that’s just a minor complaint among an album full of great music.

High Society is just an EP, so it’s easy to play through the whole record two or three times and not even realize it. The only thing really holding it back is its short length (better to keep fans hungry) and the aforementioned sex talk (typical, so — whatever). This is actually a pretty exciting release because it shows The Physics truly have the chops to succeed in the industry. They exist in a well-defined hip-hop niche but still manage to stand outside of it because of their raw talent. Their follow-up sophomore album can’t come soon enough.

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