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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

August 10, 2009 at 8:29 AM

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Uptempo R&B from Helladope: Is Beacon Hill the new England?

Posted by Andrew Matson

helladope highdive.jpg
Helladope at High Dive in Fremont last Thursday

Posting the new Blue Scholars video made me think of this Helladope song, "Just So You Know."

The Scholars and Helladope are both made up of Beacon Hill residents, and one introduced me to the other. During a Gchat last year with Sabzi, the Scholars' producer, I was pointed to Helladope's Myspace (last year, Myspace was not as corny as it is now) and told to listen to "Just So You Know."

Produced by young R&B/hiphop composer/rapper/singer Tay Sean (he's 22!), and intoned upon by Mr. Sean and rapper/singer Jerm, the song is an R&B rattlesnake, vibrating at a tempo that's too fast to sound like anything conventional but the perfect speed for what it's trying to do. And I guess what it's trying to do is make the listener two-step. You know: dance, but not really. Snap your fingers and look at the floor. Step, and step, and one, and two...

Whatever type of music it is, my impression of the song remains the same: I can't believe how smooth and assured it sounds for its strangeness. America doesn't normally listen to music like this. The song sounds like England, to me, a place where fast-tempo dance music and lush R&B jams are married together without controversy.

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