You could complain that hip-hop producer 14KT's 2013 effort has a split personality, but Nickel & Dimed is an interestingly structured effort, coming off as an instrumental beat album with a vocal EP at the end. Those two sides are separated by ten tracks of silence on the CD, giving the listener a chance to reboot after 15 sample-heavy slabs of Detroit-flavored and Dilla-inspired beatmaking. Best of the lot is the grand "Right So," where acoustic drums meet both Prince and Patrice Rushen-styled tones. In a three-way tie for second are "Imonit!" (dreamy '70s soul goes to a breakdancing contest), "Packin' Heat (Acap Outta Acap Flip)" (sounds like the genre of micro-hop being born with scattered shards and samples flying about), and "Toris" (a serene and strange journey), plus the instrumental bit of the album flows extremely well, making this an easy-access listen for those who don't spend their days behind control boards. Punching things up on the vocal part are Blu on the head-bobbing highlight "Paid," which turns the earlier "Right So" into a full-bodied cut. Black Milk and MED "go back to the time/when they up in the lab trying to come up with new stuff" and transition from old school to new school on the lyricist lounger called "Crown," while "Slo Swerve" with Jamall Bufford and JMSN drives around 14KT's hometown area (Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Detroit) at about five miles below the speed limit, chilled out on dro, sizzurp, or maybe just the fine, calming beat underneath. Both parts of the album satisfy, so think all dimes, no nickels.
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