Having interviewed a number of artists; rappers, singers, producers (of all genres), I've come to one conclusion. Categorizing helps. Many of them protest against it, but if I were to say I think I'd like to go out tonight for a nice meal, you wouldn't decipher that I'm suggesting MacDonald's. I'd assume you'd think I meant at least a reasonable restaurant, however a lot of artists wouldn't find that an acceptable statement to make.
Hailing from San Diego, California, The Sound Providers are what I deem to be the next best overlooked production duo. They perform what I like to "categorize" as "well engineered and assembled independent instrumental Hip Hop." How's that for a category?
With "An Evening With..." we're brought a show like compilation of sorts, whereby interludes take the form of what we'd see in a stage setting. An MC (not rapper) hosts the show, introducing and explaining what goes on whilst the material intertwines. This concept I've not heard used before, but it works well and serves as extremely entertaining.
The material you hear throughout the album is partly in just an instrumental form, which although relaxing, can drift a little too far into the background. The S.P.s did enlist some great talent to guest on the album. Asheru (Unspoken Heard) takes over "For Old Time's Sake" and helps transform a flute/xylophone guided beat into a gem of a song. The Procussions do a decent job over "Five Minutes," although their verses aren't that captivating although the beat trickles your attention nicely enough. Wee Bee Foolish add their talents to "It's Gonna Bee (Alright)," which isn't bad, but far from Wee Bee Foo's best.
Little Brother are responsible for the album's best track "Braggin' and Boasting." Apparently the lyrics/concept were meant for the group's "The Listening," however they couldn't acquire the right beat. The Sound Providers helped solve that problem. The track, which talks about as the title implies "Rapper bragging and boasting" is simply put, enveloping.
As previously mentioned, the Sound Providers are as their name hints at - producers. "Autumn's Evening Breeze" is beautiful. Closing your eyes and slouching into a chair are the perfect compliment to the song. "Never Judge" features Soulo (half of the S.P.'s) trying his hand at emceeing. He admits to not thinking of himself as an emcee, but does a decent job. The scratch sampled hook was well chosen.
All in all, "An Evening With The Sound Providers" is a very enjoyable album. They're a "nice meal at home," definitely not "fast food."