There is an abundance of talent in Future Brown, a production crew that consists of Asma Maroof and Daniel Pinieda (aka Nguzunguzu), Fatima Al-Qadiri, and J-Cush. The first three are responsible for some of the best releases on revered labels like Fade to Mind and UNO, while Cush has operated Lit City Trax. Equally notable is the long list of rappers and singers the group snared for its self-titled Warp album -- one that combines established underground figures and upcoming commercial artists. Likewise, the group amalgamates a head-spinning variety of intensely rhythmic, street-level club music styles: footwork, grime, bass, reggaeton, commercial R&B and rap sounds, even cumbia. The mere thought of a project with this wide a scope is tantalizing, but the results are stilted and clinical more frequently than they are energizing. Most of the tracks, ranging from the bony "Wanna Party" (featuring Chicago's Timbaland-supported Tink) to the dry "Vernáculo" (with Mad Decent associate Maluca), are designed as party anthems. A rare diversion, "Dangerzone," is a wispy ballad that involves Ian Isiah and Kelela but is nowhere near as stimulating as the productions Maroof and Pinieda granted to the latter singer's Cut 4 Me. From their inspirations to their choices in collaborators -- the inclusion of underappreciated rapid-fire rapper Shawnna alone is particularly laudable -- Future Brown clearly know what to synthesize and how to select. The whole here, however, is less than the sum of its parts.
Future Brown Review
by Andy Kellman