Introducing: Fortune Family
Hoodie Allen and Chiddy Bang fans, listen up, there are some new guys on the block, going by the name of Fortune Family. (Even if you’re not a Hoodie/Chiddy fan this is still more than worth a look & listen ;))
This duo, Hobson & Reef, hail from the Philadelphia suburbs, and (shameless paraphrasing from their own description here) pride themselves on being able to fuse different genres whether it be indie rock or 70’s jazz into contemporary hip-hop, dropping tracks fit for parties and protests… Not sure what all of that means but I’ve enjoyed the two tracks they sent us…
I’m not a fan of saving the best till last, so for that reason we will start with “Take Me Away”! It opens up with a sample taken from Annie Little’s “Fly Me Away” albeit one raised an octave or seven. Said chipmunk sampling prompts memories of “You Are Not A Robot” which sure ain’t a bad thing! In this case however the sampling is played down, it’s used as an intro and then to provide high-hatted relief to the denser backing beats. The hook comes principally from the Family themselves which is a big deal, after all providing their own hook is where some of the recent sample heavy hipsters have struggled, Chiddy Bang are perhaps guilty of, at times shoeing in borrowed hooks (not doubting their moments of brilliance however) to weak effect. It’s a trap Fortune Family have leapt over by merging the sample with their own work to produce an infectious and therefore bloody effective hook.
I’m yet to mention the brilliant lyrics and witticisms that are littered throughout the verses. Here is where another of the Family’s defining differences comes up trumps. It is great to see a duo laying down rhymes together, bouncing off each other and exchanging blows, in doing so coming up with some great lines, be it the sharp pop culture references ranging from “I’ll slip you punchlines that knock you out like a rufilin” to “Yeah I’m not Drake I’m not telling you to thank me” all the way through to the brilliant “The past is easy man I’m 20/20 hindsight it’s just the future I feel like some fucking blind mice” which perhaps encapsulates the duo, insightful and hard-hitting but paradoxically light-hearted… Maybe that’s what beats fit for parties and protests are?!
I could keep going as “Take Me Away” is genuinely superb but it’s time to move on and give some well deserved lip service to the other track the Family sent us. “My Energy” is perhaps more standard hip-hop fare although the juxtaposition of a dark echoing beat layered with jocular lyrics, “You see she’s got a couple of D’s and I ain’t talking vitamins”, is both original and effective. Couple that with a refreshingly blithe and honest chorus “Music is my life, music is my energy” and you realise that this is actually a solid track simply being overshadowed by an even better one!
I for one am excited to see what is to come from Fortune Family, so perhaps they have capitalised on the recent sampling boom but they do so in a fresh way. Yet it’s not even that which sets them aside, it’s their determination to enjoy their music, to not take things to seriously but remain honest, all of this topped with a sense of satire and irony, something us Brits are real fond of!
Here’s to one family I am hoping to spend more than just Christmas with!