Brotha From Anotha Planet
(2009, Brainfeeder/Alpha Pup)
RIYL: J Dilla, Flying Lotus, Burial, Sun Ra
There’s a reason I haven’t written lately, and it’s almost 100% hip-hop’s fault. I’ve been in the throes of a serious affair with some of my favorite old records; sometimes I just can’t listen to anything but a handful of select albums, ones that capture some vibe strong within me at the time. And so this month has found me listening again and again and again and again to four or five sublime records—Madvillainy, Los Angeles, Black on Both Sides, the Beat Konducta series—and then…
I remembered this album. It came out a few months ago, but I won’t tell if you won’t. I wasn’t quite ready for it then. The timing, the vibrations, the stars weren’t aligned. And this album is nothing if not cosmically concerned. But now we’ve found ourselves in order—universally speaking—and I am ecstatic. While it seems most of the predominant sonic society is plunging itself into either submarine environments or onto the hot, grimy rawness of urban streets, Ras G launches us into outer space, creating a sprawling, dense, airy atmosphere where negative waves and layers of soft sound play as much a part in the music as the actual beat. He and Flying Lotus (my own-other-L.A.-fave) do have a lot in common, but Brotha From Anotha Planet develops an even more spacious (what else?), wandering sound, a music that is something like extraterrestrial ambient hip-hop. It is endlessly engaging, but relaxing, too. It has soundtracked rambunctious, windows-down drives as well as ruminations on the Moon Landing. It is fresh, thoughtful, enlightened, and created with unflinching confidence—the true root of the record’s success. Ras G set out to do something different, daring, and did not waiver an iota from his goal. So who is Ras G? Neil Armstrong? Buzz Aldrin? Sun Ra? Superman? Forgive the suggestions, but I like the crusader possibilities. Brotha from anotha planet indeed, and so much better for it.
— Braying Mantis