Any of you audiophiles out there who have been following my posts for any length of time are probably aware that I don’t delve into the world of hip-hop too often. I am by no means a connoisseur of this deeply poetic art form, but every now and then someone comes along that stands out. When I received a single in my inbox from an artist named sarob. I was immediately intrigued. It was laid back, crafty, pensive, and damn smooth. With only one track I didn’t have much to go on, but with the recent release of sarob.’s first mixtape, noon., I had a chance to delve into the man a little more. His first full release is a testament to the genre, and aptly displays the talent and ingenuity of another young voice who has emerged onto the scene.
sarob.’s beats are a perfect compliment to his voice, with a certain natural quality found in both the instrumentals and vocals. There is a focus on acoustic instruments and percussion which is fittingly paired with the conversational style of sarob.’s vocals. The way his lyrics flow with constant slight variation makes it seem like he is uninhibited, like the words are effortless. The relentlessly chill beats provide a platform for this effortlessness, letting the listener get lost within each track. He controls his tone in a way that is similar to speech, giving emphasis to the state of mind and emotion behind his lyrics while making the audience feel like they are hearing it straight from the artist rather than the recording. When combined, these aspects of his music give the entire mixtape a genuine character, one that is unique to sarob.
noon. is a short but diverse mixtape. Clocking in at just over 26 minutes, sarob. managed to pack in 11 tracks (10 and a bonus track) that feel like a true unit and show a wide range in his repertoire. He makes space to bring in a few guests. He throws a bit of soulful singing into the mix on “catch.22.”, which I would love to hear more of in future releases. A positive disposition gives way to a more insecure disposition, sometimes within the same tune. Despite the aforementioned relaxed approach to his instrumentals, there is a fair amount of tension in a song like “alabaster. (feat. Olu)”, brought into full colour by a frantic urgency in sarob.’s voice. noon. takes the listener through the motion of a full album, but in a condensed format. This works perfectly for me, as the non-dedicated hip-hop fan. Most of the listening I do in this genre comes in the form of occasional hip-hop tracks on other albums, such as the features on a Nujabes record or one of Mark Farina’s mixes, but this is a mixtape in which I am eager to hear rap front to back.
At this point it may seem odd that I have not even touched on the lyrical content of noon. sarob.’s fast pace and the immense complexity of his language have made it so that I have not been able to completely process the meaning behind the man on this mixtape. Themes such as finding one’s niche as a beginning artist and asserting one’s identity form the core of the collection. I won’t go into more detail than that, I will leave you listeners to peel through the wordplay.
sarob. is streaming his debut release on soundcloud, where you can also download the whole thing FREE OF CHARGE. noon. contains material that can connect with far more than the regular hip-hop fanbase, so check it out even if this is not your usual thing.