Complete with wordy rhymes, sample-rich production and a carefully selected handful of guest appearances, YGB’s self-proclaimed ‘boom-bap fiends’ Team Dynamite release ‘Respect The Process’, an album that is as much about documenting artistic progress as it is about exploring oneself.
Opening the record with the ambient noises of what sounds like a happy family gathering at a park, Images soon introduces one of Haz Beats’ more experimental drum grooves, layered atop the soundscape of soothing synths and contemplative bells. With syncopated snare drums scattered all over the show, Lucky Lance and Tony TZ start with an ear-catching exercise of lyrical acrobatics, imploring the listener to ‘respect the process’ while displaying their skills as MCs early on.
This display continues throughout the album, particularly evident on tracks like Who? and I Like That, where the MCs glue their words to Haz’s drum grooves with a unique artistic flair that comes to be anticipated throughout the album.
With his proclivity towards live jazz instrumentation and chopped up soul samples, Haz consistently provides a perfect backdrop for his MC counterparts to drop their poetic, free-flowing rhymes. It’s clear that after over a decade of being one of NZ’s top producers, Haz has still got it. In fact, he’s better than ever. The same could be said of Lucky Lance and Tony TZ, as they set their complex lyricism comfortably atop Haz’s artful compositions.
Aside from the tracks with incredible guest features from Auckland songstress Bailey Wiley (Lightning Bolt), Wellington soul-singer Louis Baker (Dragon Fruit) and Grey Lynn’s finest Diggy Dupé (Who?), it would have been nice to see Lance and Tony shake things up a bit with regards to their song structure, as it does tend to become somewhat predictable after time (ie. Lance on the first verse, Tony on the second).
From the suave self-assurance on Principle and Island Songs to the contemplative introspection on Dragon Fruit and Lightning Bolt, ‘Respect The Process’ finds all three members of Team Dynamite in top form, a decade after their inception. This one is a must-listen for any NZ hip hop fan.