From Scott Storch to Mike Dean, The Alchemist to Murda Beatz, and far too many more examples to list here, it’s clear that having a white producer doesn’t negate the impact of a strong black voice in hip-hop. Here in Austin we can point to Song of the Day favorite RuDi Devino, who’s spread his butter-smooth bars over Ruler Why’s beats in SubKulture Patriots, Bronze Whale’s backing tracks in 5-D, and the P. Sugz/Potion productions of CAPYAC.
But aside from a few solo installments, one of RuDi’s biggest roles recently has been as the vocal half of synth-and-sample-driven duo Retr0grade. True to their handle, Retr0grade isn’t strictly stuck in the old school; instead it’s more of an ever-moving, modern hearkening back to some iconic hip-hop heyday sounds. And when it comes to that combo of classic and contemporary, of synthesized and sampled, of instrumental and vocal, those who’ve stayed in the loop on local productions know damn well that BoomBaptist is a comparable curator.
Well, just in time for this chilly MLK Day, Retr0grade groove grower Tommy Fuego just laid down some much-appreciated heat with the piping-hot sample chops and hypnotic drum programming we’ve come to love from him. For the first verse of “No Hook, No Name” RuDi tackles the offense, defies Nazi flags, and ultimately aces the interview with a Common-evocative cadence before BoomBaptist blesses the second half with his own tabernacle of lyrical boasts. It might not be the most societally-minded song you’ll hear today, but we’d like to think Dr. King would agree that this brief, bangin’ snapshot of racial harmony rips heartily.