Hami

The Funky Descendant

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Known primarily for his instrumental contributions to records by hip-hop and R&B luminaries like Ice Cube, Too Short, Eazy-E, and Immature, Hami added his classically trained musical talents to some of the most memorable urban songs of the '90s. With The Funky Descendant, he stepped into the bright glare of the solo spotlight for the first time, supplying violin, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, piano, flute, synths, raps, and smooth vocals that place him in the same category as Prince for sheer versatility and bold, DIY chutzpa. On the opening "Hip Hop Jazz," Hami establishes himself as an able instrumentalist, with a melodic rap/sung delivery that gives props to Parker, Coltrane, Monk, and Fitzgerald for their profound influence. "The New Frontier" presents the artist's artistic manifesto of no sampling and no wack BS, with solemn vows to strive for uniqueness, while "Leave It Alone" is a dark, mellow jazz cut that showcases his silky smooth vocals. Although a few cuts here traffic in tepid R&B grooves, the album on the whole is a welcome break from the flava-of-the-month copycatting so prevalent in rap during the mid-'90s, proving Hami a formidable hip-hop talent.