Combining elements of hip hop, funk, R&B, rock, jazz and spoken word, “Open Rhythm System” is a unique album that pushes the boundaries of creativity and what a hip hop influenced album can sound like. The Beat Kids consist of vocalist Latasha Diggs, Keith Witty on acoustic bass, Yusuke Yamamoto on the flute and Guillermo Brown on drums, electric bass and piano. These four talented individuals are all accomplished musicians with a love for music, which is never more evident than throughout “Open Rhythm System”.
With The Beat Kids debut release, don’t expect your average, run of the mill instrumental album. “Open Rhythm System” will provide a wide range of sounds but not the type that will quench your thirst for pure Hip Hop production. The album is more influenced on other factors than Hip Hop, which provides a nice change of pace from the usual instrumental albums released. “Bang!” is a beautiful track with a funky drum beat that comes in at all angles, slowly changing once you get settled with one particular sound. The mood swings back and forth, making it one of the more unique, yet satisfying efforts on the album. “Sick Day” is one of the few R&B influenced tracks, which ends up as the albums best cut. Latasha Diggs steals the show with her melodic, spoken word influenced singing. “Juggle” is a more up tempo track, complete with a funk filled, head nodding beat. While “Fraction” is the completely opposite, with a jazz influenced sound that moves at a snail’s pace. The songs mellow, low-key vibe is smooth and relaxing and is definitely a song to lounge to.
While “Open Rhythm System” constantly offers creative and original songs, many of the album’s tracks tend to loose your attention rather quickly. “Hothot”, “Want”, “Donut Shop”, “Space Cats” and “Brazilian Phrase Book” are all innovative songs that showcase the artistic style of The Beat Kids, but they fail to offer anything entertaining or captivating. Tracks like those mentioned above are ones that fans will quickly get tired of as they tend to drag on too long without a distinct vibe that listeners can gravitate towards. Other hit or miss attempts can be seen from “Life Is A Jungle” and - “Danger Zone”, which is an extremely hectic beat that travels all over the place, leaving the listener more or less dazed and confused. “Channel 9 Reprise” is another similar attempt, with a funky, awkward beat that most listeners will not understand.
“Open Rhythm System” is an album that personifies creativity and showcases the groups craftsmanship perfectly. However, the production fails to stay fresh and tends to loose your attention after a couple of listens. Unlike RJD2 or Science Fiction, The Beat Kids have not managed to perfect the art of making skillful yet catchy and captivating beats. There is no questioning the groups musical talent, but in today’s fickle Hip Hop industry, The Beat Kids are a group that will certainly go over most listeners heads.