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.