Hip-Hop may have grown from a street corner, a cappella, lyrical battle ground but like any musical genre it has come a long way since that formative early eighties learning curve. It has evolved and explored along the way, given birth to a number of sub-genres and become part of the most lucrative end of the music industry. But that isn’t to say that it has got comfortable with its lot and is happy to relax and revel in past glories. Anything but! Track Seven Band are living proof of this and their blending of classic hip-hop dexterity with established rock muscle is proof that things are still moving forward.
This isn’t the first time that the two genres have found ways to work together but the results have largely been hard rock songs with rapped deliveries, bustling with rage and angst, here though, there is something more balanced at work, less about one genre plundering from another but instead a wonderfully sonic symbiosis. From the lyrical attack to the underlying groove it beats with a hip-hop heart but this is enhanced by guitar lines which come from a fairly understated rock place and drums and piano lines that add a brilliant soul vibe to the song.
So it is soul, rock and hip-hop, it is built on classic lines and generously tips its hat to the past but it is also wonderfully forward thinking, the sound of things moving on rather than of rose-tinted backward glances or plundered nostalgia. It is also wonderfully understated, especially when compared with what the rock/hip-hop fusion normally results in. There are no overplayed rock guitars filling every space between the lyrics, no onslaught of beats and boisterousness, no rock cliche. Instead the song has room to breath and the guitars sit behind, emphasising rather than domination, adding deft musical detail rather than trying to steal the show.
The result is a song with room to breath, lyrics which are framed rather than fighting to be heard and there is room for some sweet piano lines to weave through the centre ground and this room to let all these musical ideas co-exist is what really takes this song over the line. It feels natural and honest rather than forced or put together in some sort of generic fusion box ticking exercise and is also the perfect calling card for the EP of the same name from which it is taken.
Music has to change to offer something new, write a new footnote in the annals of music history and The Try and The Fail feels a lot more than a footnote, possibly the introductory paragraph to a chapter called “What Hip-Hop Did Next.”