Monday, July 9, 2012

Cookbook - The Smell Of Success (review)

Let me just start by saying that Cookbook is one of the most energizing, original, and engaging artists that I have seen in a while. He has a realness and authenticity that is hard to come by in the music industry these days. You're probably thinking "what the fuck does that mean you weirdo". Let me explain... about a month and a half ago my homie Ricky and I met up at the Pigeon John / Tanya Morgan show in Tempe AZ. Little did I know that Cookbook was opening for them. I had heard of Cookbook before, but really hadn't dove into his music. Once he hit the stage that night my attention was captured. Cookbook started out playing the piano, rapping, telling jokes, and talking to the crowd. I remember thinking how crazy it was that this hip hop head could jam on the keyboard so well and make the crowd react the way he did. As his set went on he infused the keyboard with hip hop classics that slid into his own material. He had the crowd rocking out just as much as he was if not more. By the end of his set he was dripping sweat, head to toe, from an energetic performance. He was jumping on the keyboard and back to the mic then running from one end of the stage to the other. It was an awesome performance. I was super impressed with the way he actually brought the crowd into his world. The day after the show Cookbook and I linked up on twitter and he said he wanted to send me some new music. I was like "cool... send me a link and I'll check it out". Now, this is why I use the term "authentic". Cookbook said "give me your shipping address and I'll send you a physical copy". WOW... really? Ok. So a couple weeks later I get a brand new copy of his up coming album, The Smell Of Success, in my mailbox. I don't know if cats these days really appreciate the nostalgia of holding a brand new CD heat wrapped in the most difficult plastic known to man, but it was awesome to me. It literally brought me back to 1998 when I was opening a brand new Pharcyde album. I was trying to figure out how to open it with out fucking up the case. Then once I had the bullet proof plastic off I had to make sure to open the cover carefully so I didn't snap a hinges. It's all fun and games until you have a broken hinge. So now it's open! The actual disk is staring me in the face. Now the last step... popping the disk out of the molded cover hoping the little teeth don't break out of the center casing. That was always a bitch if the little center teeth broke out because the CD wouldn't fit back in right and then the scratches start. Can't have that shit. So now I have this crispy new CD entitled "The Smell Of Success" in my hand. (side note: the actual disk is a real scratch n' sniff) I pop it in Yolanda, the name I gave my macbook, and hit play.

The album begins with a funky jam entitle Strange Brew. It's a fitting introduction with Cookbook setting a feel good tone that everyone wants to vibe too. Right off the bat you can hear that West Coastin groove. A couple tracks later in Musica Grande you hear the flickers of the keyboard followed by the thump of an 808 that just kicks you in the neck. Cookbook and Chino XL go IN on this joint. They both literally murder this track. Then Cookbook jumps to a more self reflecting track called D.I.Y where he goes in on his own personal goals, values, and visions. All the stuff I should have, but gave up to be a blogger. (laughs) Enter the lead single on the project: The Party's Still Jumpin... this track is that smoothed out gangsta party with ton of O.G. Kush and an unlimited source Ole English 40's on deck. Yeah... that's how I'd have to describe that track. Cookbook called on Styliztik Jones, UNO Mas, and El Prez to assist with The Party's Still Jumpin. Can't go wrong there. inDJnous helps speed things up with the next track Get That which is another fun joint. The impressive part about Cookbook is that he is putting this entire project together from top to bottom. From the making the beats to the lyrics to your head phones... it's all Cookbook. One of the tracks that really stuck with me is a joint called WhatIgottaDo. It's Cookbook's comedic thought process on how he can get ahead in life. The track starts something like this..."If it will get me some green... screw it I'm white. I'm part black on my dad's side if that gets you hype? My last name Soto, I can change it to Sato? If it will get me Asian fans, Domo Arigato. My Indian name is Red Wing Hawk Toe. I'm a try to win big in this lyrical lotto." It just gets better after that. (laughs) To be honest people sometimes criticise Cookbook and say that his lyrical strength is not as strong as his production power, but I really don't see that with this project. On The Smell Of Success he dominates on both levels. Later on the album he gets a lending hand from Guilty Simpson to go in on the project's title track. The name of the track pretty much sums up the theme, but it's Cookbook's speedy tongue twisting lead verse that will catch you by surprise. Overall, Cookbook really gives you the full spectrum of what he can do on this project. I feel like this is 12 tracks of timeless music from an artist that puts 100% of his soul into it. One thing is for sure with Cookbook... you can't knock his hustle. He lives, sleeps, and bleeds his music and it shows on The Smell Of Success. Be on the look out for the full album to drop July 31st 2012. S/O to Cookbook on a dope project.