J-Day: Cradle Orchestra’s Velvet Ballads

by Winston "Stone" Ford


Cradle Orchestra – All I Want In This World (feat CL Smooth)

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Friday just became J-Day. We’re looking at music from Japan. And by the way, I can’t take credit for this next act if I could. Much props goes out to my homegirl Whitney for this one.

Cradle Orchestra is the brainchild of the CRADLE DJs from Japan, who got their start remixing tracks for some of that country’s hottest hip-hop artists. However, over the past few years the crew has evolved from just sampling hip-hop records  to creating everything from scratch–hence the Cradle Orchestra evolved.

The Orchestra, consisting of live strings, piano, and bass create a new organic sound not heard in hip-hop since….well ever. The last song that I think had the same effect was Xzibit’s Paparazzi in 1996 but even that was sample based.  The combination of orchestral sounds and hip-hop is one that needs to explored more often. Cradle’s melodies and natural orchestral rhythms are tailor made for a lyricist’s rhymes, and for this trip they bring some of hip-hop’s finest to the table.

And the list collaborators is definitely impressive: CL Smooth, Aloe Blacc, Black Thought, Talib Kweli and DC’s own Asheru round out the bill.

Cradle Orchestra’s Velvet Ballads is a straight amazing album. No word on if it will ever be released in the US.

  • Whitnass

    Lets go Japan and find em! ;)

  • robofunk

    Love the blog. Good to see some Japanese love. I consider a lot of Japanese hip-hop production to be very jazzy, which is why I like it. I especially love Nujabes. I can’t help but love Cradle and Cradle Orchestra.

    There are also a ton of great V.A. hip-hop compilation albums that get released in Japan, they are a great way to hear a lot of new stuff from all over the world. P-Vine Records put out the best hip-hop compilation albums in my opinion. Cradle recently put out a V.A. album with them. They also release a lot of underground groups in Japan, Raashan Ahmad, Specifics, Dragonfly Empire, Think Twice, Kero One.

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