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Superstar Quamallah Invisible Man

Be With | Item No: 1119823
Vinyl 2LP | 2009 / UK – Reissue | New
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Item Description
Holy grail hip-hop alert! Superstar Quamallah's Invisible Man was never released on wax so, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of this astounding record, we present the first ever vinyl edition. A stunning record which gained accolades upon its initial release, such as a prominent feature on Gilles Peterson's renowned Best Of 2009 show, it's one of the most essential jazz rap albums of all time. Cut across double vinyl, it’s exceedingly limited, with just 500 pressed for the world.

Deep jazz rap on that mellow-melodic tip, Invisible Man is an unforgettable album with nothing but dope beats and dope bars. There's a strong chance this album has passed you by but we truly believe it to be a lost hip-hop masterpiece. It supremely captures the essence of a golden age classic without being slavish to the past. No, this ain't some facile throwback rap. It's a fresh and deeply soulful, original album shot through straight from the heart. Perfect to chill to, Invisible Man is profoundly jazz-oriented and captures with simplicity and sincerity the essence of hip-hop circa 1983-1994. It sounds like vibing with your nearest, dearest and oldest friends on a long hot summer night as the tantalising thought that anything is possible fills the air. You know what, we can just call this "magic hour rap" and we think you'll know what we mean. It's just beautiful. Just Listen.

Brooklyn-born, California-based emcee, DJ, and producer Superstar Quamallah was active in the West Coast underground scene throughout the 90s and recorded extensively with such revered names as Defari and Tajai. His parents were some serious artistic heavyweights, too; his father was soul organist Big John Patton, a giant in the jazz world known for his releases on Blue Note whilst his mother was an active designer. However, he remains relatively unknown. Invisible Man, named ostensibly after the classic Ralph Ellison novel, could also refer to how he is viewed by the public at large. With close affiliations to the Hieroglyphics, Dilated Peoples and Likwit crew, his debut EP "Don't Call Me John" arrived in 1999 on ABB Records, after which he took a sabbatical from recording which included graduate school, travelling, teaching at Inglewood High and eventually a professorship of African Studies at Berkeley.

With a laidback flow and deep, relaxing presence on the mic, Superstar Quamallah is equal parts Big Daddy Kane, Rakim and Guru. Invisible Man is refined, soulful, feel-good hip-hop of the old school. Its wise, spiritual and literate sound, combined with the summertime vibes projected by the smooth beats and the nostalgia-inducing samples and vocal scratches, created jazzy boom-bap rap reminiscent of prime De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and Gang Starr.

Irresistibly bouncing opener "You Need Knowledge" loops sparkling pianos, horns and a nagging whistle refrain with scratched vocal refrains from Slick Rick, Mobb Deep and Guru. The super-smooth head-nod classic "88 Soul" also utilises a beautifully swelling piano line and dusty breaks whilst Quamé reminisces about his childhood in NYC. Deeply moving, the silky, sultry "Black Shakespeare" is built around an elegant piano loop and goes hard on the superman lover tip whilst "For My People...It's Spiritual" is transcendental rap in conversation with Rakim and older gods. The "Moment Of Truth"-sampling "Lonely At The Top" is striking for its undiluted boom-bap stylings and the staccato flute-hop of "Just Listen" is riddled with soulful refinement. The deeply-affecting, wistful-yet-triumphant bells and horn-drenched single "California Dreamin'" is top-tier rap of unimpeachable quality. What a flow!

Another highlight is the rich melodic piano-rap of "Purity", a beautiful ode to the foundations of rap and those keeping the culture authentically alive. Beautifully played instruments and spiritual jazz samples elevate the deep thinking present on "Kunta Kente" whilst the darker jazz-tinged battle-rap of "93 Shit" goes super hard both in a lyrical sense and with its no-holds drum punches. The breezy Rhodes and string loops that serve as the sonic backdrop to the slinky jazz rap of "We Got Plots" are just gorgeous as our hero evokes Common's "I Used To Love H.E.R." with a head-spinning tale of crime, deception and double crossing. And some twist! "Do Win-Dis" has a tense crime-funk backing and rolling beats which complement Quamé's flow perfectly before the record is rounded out by the tough yet jazzy brilliance of rap confessional "Hope She Remembers Me". Just sensational.

Upon its original release, Quamallah himself declared: "My favorite time period for Hip Hop music was definitely between 1983 and 1994 with 1988 and 1993 being two years that standout as extremely impressive years musically and culturally. The fashion, slang, movies, TV shows and vibe during those years was incredible. While totally submerged in the feelings and music of that entire time period, I went to work on Invisible Man and I am excited for people to hear the result! It is an album that I would want to hear from some of my favorite artists of the past and present today. This is not a RETRO trip for me; this is me at my best lyrically and spiritually using the accessories of the 80s and 90s to fuel me. I am a 88 soul as the song states!"

This album goes deep. It goes all in. When Invisible Man first came out it had a real hold on us here at Be With HQ. We couldn't stop listening to it. We'd venture to say it's one of the top 25 rap records of the 2000s. In the years since its release, it has remained a criminally underrated record, an increasingly hidden gem. We sincerely hope this first time double LP release will go some way to correct this. It's been mastered for vinyl by Simon Francis, cut by Cicely Balston and pressed at Record Industry. Finally available on the format it should always have been on, it must never be rendered invisible again.
Item Details
Item No: 1119823
Artist: Superstar Quamallah
Title: Invisible Man
Label: Be With
Catalog No: bewith157lp
Format: Vinyl 2LP, Vinyl, LP
Pressing: UK – Reissue
Release Date: 2009
Genre: Hip Hop
Style: US Hip Hop
Available since: 2024-06-06
Condition: New
Price: 34,99 €
Weight: 500g (plus 250g Packaging)
Tracklist
A1 Superstar Quamallah - Mr. Righteous (Intro) (0:35)
A2 Superstar Quamallah - You Need Knowledge (3:45)
A3 Superstar Quamallah - 88 Soul (3:12)
A4 Superstar Quamallah - Black Shakespeare (3:02)
A5 Superstar Quamallah - For My People...It's Spiritual (2:55)
B1 Superstar Quamallah - Lonely At The Top (3:56)
B2 Superstar Quamallah - Just Listen (4:05)
B3 Superstar Quamallah - California Dreamin' (4:33)
C1 Superstar Quamallah - Purity (3:59)
C2 Superstar Quamallah - Kunta Kente (4:20)
C3 Superstar Quamallah - 1993 Shit (3:49)
D1 Superstar Quamallah - We Got Plots (3:38)
D2 Superstar Quamallah - Do Win-Dis (4:11)
D3 Superstar Quamallah - Hope She Remembers Me (3:15)
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