For those of you who missed it, Kenstrumentals Vol. 2: Summer Rarities was released on August 19th. Our thoughts on the first four tracks are layered, and we are very excited that this work is finally being unleashed unto the world. If any of the songs sound familiar, it may because you’ve caught them on their first go round, either as beats for other artists to do their thing over or on bootlegs from album artist Kenny Segal. It’s also very possible that you’re simply familiar with Segal’s style and talent as it has been felt and heard all over the hip hop scene in Los Angeles and beyond for years.
“Worlds to Run [VIP dub]” is a track that previously featured Busdriver, milo, and Anderson.Paak. Whether you’ve heard the original mix or not, the version from Kenstrumentals Vol. 2: Summer Rarities does not sound incomplete or lacking whatsoever in its composition. The song fades in with a brief snippet of nature sounds and a swelling acoustic guitar that plays an arpeggio that seamlessly falls into step with the mellow beat Segal spins. When the horns hit, the song reveals itself as a lush, hypnotic groove with elements of jazz, rock, hip hop, and too many other influences to mention.
The resulting product is without a doubt more than the sum of its parts as “Worlds to Run [VIP dub]” stands alone as an instrumental work with enough layers and shades of sonic diversity to please fans of most any genre. “Protect Yo Chain [dub]” is a sultry banger that makes as much use out of the space between beats as it does from the impeccable moments of instrumentation that recall moments of organic and electric bliss as they harken back to the scores of classic television dramas.
“Afternoon Hangs with Carmack, Elos, and Driver” shares some of the same tones as “Worlds to Run [VIP dub]” and “Protect Yo Chain [dub]”, but it also fully displays a stunning trait of the album. Specifically, the track has a natural, live vibe to it. This is not to say it does not have elements of electronic or prerecorded sounds, but rather that it incorporates such elements in such a way that the listener becomes lost in the swirling swagger of jazzy keyboards and strutting bass without realizing the deft way in which Segal has combined everything in the finished product.
The final track available for streaming is “Hours Without U [dub] feat. H-Y and Carmack” and it is also the closer on the album. Thematically, it seems to serve as an inverse of the album’s opener, “Worlds to Run [VIP dub]” in that it shares similar acoustic arpeggios under electronic tones and beats. As the track flows towards its finish, Segal again crafts an array of sounds in a freewheeling way that eventually fades out into a few words of conversation. This focus on the human element in the fading seconds of Kenstrumentals Vol. 2: Summer Rarities lends the track and album a feeling of intimacy that stays with the listener, even on second, third, or fourth listenings that will no doubt also leave the listener feeling the timeless grooves and beats as well.
Kenstrumentals Vol. 2: Summer Rarities is available now on all digital platforms and on a limited edition cassette tape from Dome of Doom Records. You can follow Kenny Segal on Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, and Bandcamp.