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Lord Cromwell – I Can’t Hear You

Lord Cromwell and Precipitate Records brings listeners smokey, relaxed hip hop over well thought out sound collage in Cromwell’s recent release, I Can’t Hear You.


Many contemporary artists are creating audio jewels by building their work around sound collage and sampling. To achieve these techniques, artists have to combine an adept knowledge of culture, music history, and self identity. When done well (which rarely happens), we get giant accomplishments like Kanye West’s, Ye, and much of Girl Talk’s work. I see this same spirit in Oakland, CA rapper, Lord Cromwell (perhaps named after 16th century English historical figure, Thomas Cromwell).

Cromwell opens his album with a High-Fidelity sample regarding the protagonist’s record collection and how he organizes it not, “alphabetically,” nor “chronologically,” but, “autobiographically.” In context, we get a sense of how much the film’s character is obsessed with music, art and culture through a vast record collection. Out-of-context, it’s like Cromwell is pulling out records in his own vast collection, celebrating and rapping on top of the music and art that inspired him.

Jumping to track 5, Love Day by Day, Cromwell relays an artist’s fire that projects him forward and shoves back at the odds stacked against him. ”Make cheddar/more better/ more shots/more frames/more forever/more leisure/more amoure/more pathos/keep me close/gotta roast when it comes being better.” In the chorus he chants “it seems like a set up, so I’m never gonna let up,” almost like a mantra. When looking beyond the lyrics into the sound collage/sample realm, Cromwell loops a 1955 June Hutton version of song, Day by Day (popularized by Frank Sinatra). In the original, a chorus of Andrew Sister-esque vocalists sing “Day by day, you’re making my dreams come true.” Cromwell cuts it down to “love – day by day.” This gives listeners a sense of Cromwells giant goals but his love for the day by day path towards success.

Cromwell’s work is a high concept, leisure energy listening experience. Catch more Cromwell and his style in his group work, The Brothers Amor.

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