Review: Sa-Ra – The Hollywood Recordings

by Winston "Stone" Ford


The Hollywood Recordings

After what it seems like years in the limelight, the LA/NYC producer trio Sa-Ra finally released their promised major label LP, The Hollywood Recordings this week. After the group got shut out from the release schedule at Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music, they finally found a home at the independent label Babygrande.

Sa-Ra has always combined 70s psychedelic soul and 80s electroclash with neo-soul and R&B, and hip-hop, making them completely unclassifiable. However, The Hollywood Recordings tries to be all things to all people, which unfortunately is its downfall. The standout tracks, “Hey Love,” “So Special,” and “And If,” definitely lean more towards the Neo-soul vibe. Tracks like “Bitch,” “White on the Floor,” and “Do Me Gurl,” are thugged-out sex drenched eletro joints for the Neogroclash crowd. The last track, a rework of the white label “Hollywood” is not as good as the original, but damn this track is damn near psychedelic for me right now. It almost sounds like some Issac Hayes tracks from the mid 70s.

Unfortunately, the tracks that fall short are the hip-hop tracks. Sa-Ra’s out there production style just doesn’t compliment hip-hop that well, and their tracks with Capone-N-Noreaga and Kurupt seem like lame attempts to court the “street” crowd. And the lead single, “Feel the Bass” featuring Talib Kweli falls short of the mark.

Is Sa-Ra the music of the future? Well, The Hollywood Recordings is the archetype of where Black Music can go in the future, but its is by no means perfect What would’ve put it over the top is if they removed the hip-hop tracks and if they added “Nasty U,” and “Starwarz” from Black Fuzz. (I’m sure that they couldn’t cause of contract issues, although the group promises that Black Fuzz will be released sometime later this year.). Still, its glad to see Black musicians who think outside the box getting more play in the mainstream arena. Sa-Ra may not end up being the most successful “Negroclash” artist, but at least they will open up the door.

  • Chris

    Heard the whole thing on yesterday morning, and sure enough, the good folks of UPS showed up that afternoon with the copy I ordered from Amazon.

    (Became impatient with the local record shop, which was slipping and sliding on whether they had it or not.)

    Overall, I would tend to agree with the assessment here, though I liked the album a little bit more than you did.

    This probably shouldn’t matter, but if a good number of the tracks have been floating around for several years, the chances for heartbreak tend to increase.

    And as has been mentioned, a lot of good stuff couldn’t make on the album because of likely contract issues. (Four-for-four on the group’s page.) Unfortunately, that’s the way it goes.

    However, as much of a sour-puss I seem, I wouldn’t equate letdown with suckage and am glad to have them finally put the album out there.

  • maza