"Beat Journey" by Dr. Who Dat?

Dr. Who Dat?
Beat Journey

Lex Records
2006

Review

If you were to say the name "Jneiro Jarel" your first instinct would probably be to say "Who Dat?" as in, "Never Heard Of Him". If you were to listen to a song by by Jneiro's instrumental alias "Dr. Who Dat?", you would probably say "Dayumn, who dat?" as in, "Wow, this is good, who's it by?". Although I am not yet familiar with Jneiro Janel Hip-Hop producer and MC, I am very well acquainted with his 2006 release "Beat Journey". And for once there is truth in advertising as this album does indeed take the listener on a beat journey.

What I notice right away when "Beat Journey" begins is how much I am reminded of the instrumental style that I discovered when I heard DJ Cam's "Mad Blunted Jazz" for the first time. The album starts out with a song - "Beat Rock" - that is very indicative of what Dr. Who Dat? is trying to accomplish. You have a simple, addictive beat grounded in a Hip-Hop sound made possible by the echoes of Jazz music. Call it "Acid Jazz". Call it "Instrumental Hip-Hop". Call it "Aural Soundscapes" or "Thinking Music" or "Meditation Music". Call it "Music to Melt Your Worries Away". Call it "Fuel For Your Creativity" and use it as the catalyst that causes innermost thoughts to find their way from pen to paper. For me, it is all of those things in the way the best instrumental compositions can be many things all at once to different people and to a single person.

In many ways, I see the style of music on this album as a more Hip-Hop-Centric approach to an instrumental album. These songs here are not as complex as those that would appear on a Fat Jon or Flying Lotus album. The focus here really is on beats that are interesting enough to be compelling and to sound like complete compositions but still being looped in the way that a Hip-Hop beat would be. Listen to "Follow" to see what I mean. The beat is simple. But the way the elements rise in and out and pick back up causes there to be enough going on in the beat that it continues to remain interesting even if you can recognize when the beat comes back in and around itself.

The entire album is a mellow, soulful excursion that demonstrates the musical potential of the Hip-Hop beat and how with careful construction the instrumental can be a complete work in and of itself without the need for an MC to lay their thoughts over the track (although, you might just find yourself embarrassing yourself in trying to kick an acapella rhyme to these beats at 3am).

The only parts where this album goes astray is when Dr. Who Dat? goes a little too high-concept. In particular, "Stop Calling Me" with it's attempt to turn a ringing phone into a song fails to work as a song since not only is it repetitive but after all the varied instruments that album has presented the listener with up to that point, it is a bit disappointing to be listening to a phone. Similarly, "Creepin'" succeeds in being creepy, but not as being a compelling song.

The high-points of the album are the amazing tracks "Deep Blaque" and "Follow". Both of these tracks will be instant favorites for those who like a healthy serving of static with their instrumentals (think Flying Lotus). "Deep Blaque" in particular makes great use of Stereo to blend the haunting melody in and out, back and forth between your ears - practically demanding to be played at high-volume in your headphones.

Again, this album is not as complex as other instrumental Hip-Hop albums to the extent that most people might think of it as a mere "Beats" album. But these mere "Beats" are so well done that they have become elevated to the point of rising above being just "Beats" and in fact are now "Compositions".

If you are looking for something to vibe to, maybe it's time to find out just who this Dr. Who Dat? person is.

4.900 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Beat Rock (02:18) 5
2. Braziliant Thought (04:13) 5
3. Pharoah's Dream (feat. Capital Peoples) (05:09) 5
4. B-Boy Portrait in Spain (02:45) 5
5. March to Viberia (00:51) 3
6. Stop Calling Me (02:40) 3
7. Thumpa (02:28) 4
8. On the Doelow (02:35) 4
9. Deep Blaque (05:26) 5
10. Creepin (01:37) 3
11. Memories (02:40) 4
12. ASAP (Flash) (02:43) 4
13. Follow (02:25) 5
14. Daiya (feat. Capital Peoples) (01:04) 3
15. Kelly Drive (03:26) 3
16. Ageless Daisy (03:49) 3
17. Bahia Blues (02:49) 5
18. Warped 45 (00:55) 5