Cambridge producer Chairman Maf releases his third LP ‘Soup’. The album showcases Maf’s ingenious sample-work, his versatile influences and chilled vibe that is guaranteed to keep your head nodding for the full 43 minute journey.
The album kicks off with ‘Mambo’, and the weird mesh of samba, jazz and hip-hop works so so well. It’s a quirky, slightly off-kilter jam that opens the album with freshness, individuality and pure dopeness. The crisp ‘Danger’ is an oddly sinister boom-bap number; the vinyl crackle, vocal samples and unexpected sample choices combine to make a hypnotic and thoroughly enjoyable soundscape.
The soulful ‘Sincere Soup’ is another highlight; Chairman Maf’s production is always vividly textured and layered. The dense instrumentals are constantly interesting and exciting to take in, with sound effects and faultless sample manipulation and choice underpinned by tight drum grooves and percussion.
The somber mood of the clean, silky piano on ‘Blue Soup’ is backed by a subtle electronic kick drum and snare; Maf’s resources never get boring, there’s always something new and different on each track. In fact, there’s often many segments that make up a whole beat; the instrumentals on ‘Soup’ go far beyond just a nice sample and a couple of 16 bar loops, there’s variety, thought and clear skill on show here.
‘Liar’ does kind of take that shape though; it’s a pretty simple formula, but it works so well. The vocal samples mix with the chopped samples, and the crisp drum beat holds it together nicely. The mellow ‘Booze’ rounds off the standard edition of the album. If you get the deluxe version however, you’re treated to two more beats. ‘Special Soup’ is another soulful boom-bap cut, and ‘Prawn Soup’ is the instrumental to ‘Prawns’ from Dirty Dike’s recently released ‘Sucking On Prawns In The Moonlight’ album, which dropped a few months back through High Focus Records.
Chairman Maf shows why he’s one of the most consistent and intelligent producers in the hip-hop scene on our shores. ‘Soup’ is musical, it’s soulful, it’s eclectic and it sounds damn good. The album’s bandcamp page states that this is possibly his last release, but please Maf, if the projects are this good (and his 2014 release ‘Paint’ was quality too), don’t stop just yet.
By Sam Bennett