Jersey-based producer, promoter, and artist Ezrakh flipped the script on us for his birthday this year, giving the public a Present. You might know him as the co-founder of the legendary #THREAD parties, or maybe as a member of the pioneering Brick Bandits crew. But with his latest mixtape, Ezrakh gives us further proof that he’s a musical force to be reckoned with. The 8-track Present draws on an eclectic range of influences from folk to hip-hop to r&b to house to club music, all of which shine through at strategic moments throughout the tape.
While the project’s component parts come from all over the place, the tape has a cohesive, coherent overall feel: whether chopping up sax samples on housey jam “Little Things” or simultaneously channeling Tom Waits, Raury, and the guy who writes the copy for Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap on “One”, Ezrakh opens a window into his experiences and ideas about the past, future and Present. At times boastful and at times vaguely inspirational (“Open your eyes and see it all starts with you / universal truth, universal you”), Present is accessible, but thoughtful; respectful, but playful; and forward-thinking, but nostalgic.
For my money, the most evocative moment on the project is the instrumental outro of “Somethin bout Love,” where Ezrakh’s guitar floats over a deep club kick pattern and a barely-there vocal chop – all elements you might find on a traditional Jersey club record, but totally reimagined. Ezrakh pays homage not only to Jersey’s club tradition, but to its storied house roots also. If you’re a fan of urban music, dance music, or urban dance music, you’ll find this tape relevant and refreshing.