Another strong release on Spring Break Tapes, this time from Japanese beat conductor Bugseed. I’m sure I’m not the only one who somehow managed to miss out on this brilliant Tokyo-based producer, so the LA tape label is really doing a service in bringing such dope music to new ears.
Bugseed’s namesake is a type of grass, which seems fitting for this chilled out instrumental hip hop and should give you some idea the kind of hazy vibes he brings to the party. I dug up past releases like the Bohemian Beatnik LP and Critical Moments in preparation for this review and found that there hardly a dud in his whole catalog. Some Foods is pretty typical for a beat tape, 12 tracks clocking in at just 26 minutes, but each track jumps right in setting a strong groove. Perfect for looping and rhyming over, but definitively on the short side. This plays to his strengths in a lot of ways, trimming the fat and keeping the energy high. If you’re as impressed I am, I recommend checking out his debut LP linked above for a deeper experience.
That said, the piano-sample centric beats on Some Foods demonstrate that he’s only improved over the last few years. The tracks on both sides are dominated by melodic piano chops, but Bugseed breaks it up by mixing in beats based on vocal cuts and synths to keep the piano sounding fresh. He has a strong inclination towards classic ’90s hip hop, real boom bap style with jazzy samples and a loose swing. Inspired by classic hip hop producers and LA’s bedroom beat scene, his beats avoid the trap of sound derivative or formulaic.
Only 25 years old, Bugseed’s already released a string of solid releases in just 4 or 5 years, with no sign of slowing down. One of the great things about tapes and downloads it allows an artist to release more music, and for fans to listen to their evolution in almost real-time. Don’t sleep on this. (Joseph Sannicandro)