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Citrus Sessions, Vol. 1

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Album Review

Myka Nyne's label name and album title are entirely appropriate, because Citrus Sessions has a sunny, light touch even on the handful of relatively dark-themed tunes. A longtime member of the Freestyle Fellowship as well as an accomplished trumpeter, Myka Nyne is that point on the Venn diagram where hardcore hip-hop (he worked with N.W.A early in his career), acid jazz (Fender Rhodes and Nyne's own trumpet lines thread throughout the album), and neo-soul (some of the album's musicians have worked with Macy Gray and Anthony Hamilton) converge. The music is all low-key cool, with old-school jazz and soul influences abounding, and Nyne's raps range from rueful childhood tales ("Picture Book") to touchingly wide-eyed declarations of love ("Comfortable"), delivered in a voice that never loses its easygoing flow no matter what the emotional tenor of the lyrics. Aside from the oddly syncopated "Determination," which recalls some of Funkadelic's more experimental vocal approaches, a summery chillout vibe predominates on Citrus Sessions. Mellow without being enervating, this is mature, soulful, and sophisticated hip-hop that retains its underground cred.

Citrus Sessions, Vol. 1, Myka Nyne
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