Rick Haze – Daily Observations
1.) Stick Up (Feat. The Steppas)
2.) G Funk Roots
3.) Nike’s & MPC’s
5.) The MC
6.) Dub It (Feat. Skillinjah)
8.) Ups and Downs
9.) Def Poetry
11.) Sound Dub (Feat. Kubla)
12.) Nike’s & MPC’s (Swashbukcla Remix)
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: March 4th, 2014
Official Website: Rick Haze Website
Hailing from Orlando, Florida is producer and lyricist Rick Haze. In his early years as a musician and during his time in the military, Haze became attached to the much-beloved genre shortly after hearing reggae all-star Don Carlos’ 1982 hit Music Crave. Now, Haze has released his sophomore release Daily Observations and follow up to 2012’s Mellow Wave.
Rick Haze, in his own words, describes his new album: “Daily Observations is a journey through the past year and a half of my experiences in the music industry and my final months in the U.S military. Creatively, the album mixes a lot of emotions and musical style. I really tried my best to represent ME and MY style and not so much imitate what is popular in reggae or hip-hop.”.
I personally requested this album to review because I’m a huge fan of Hip Hop & I’m a huge fan of Reggae. With Daily Observations I was sadly let down with the album as a whole. There’s a few decent songs on here, but not enough of an album, from start to finish, to remain timeless in the age of digital saturation.
Production didn’t impress and it didn’t age well over the many listens. I understand a lot of time went into production, but that doesn’t mean it yielded any stand-out creativity from whats already been done before and been done better. For the most part, it’s the same stagnant hip-hop beat with the same reggae key strokes with occasional scratching & sampling. It yearned for more creativity in production. If you’re listening to just one song, you may not notice it as much as hearing them all next to each other from start to finish.
With all of that said, I really did like the song “Nike’s & MPC’s”. I felt this track had the best change up in production throughout the song and Rick Haze nicely cuts up the track with his verses & attitude. The DJ scratching & sampling sounded on point & the song would be your best first impression to the album, in my opinion.
Daily Observations has a few guest appearances that all sounded decent with The Steppas, SkillinJah & Kubla. Of the 3 guest appearances, my favorite was with Skillinjah on the song “Dub It”. While I wasn’t a fan of the Dub-step breakdown in the song, it’s not awful & the two of them sound great over dancehall & Hip-Hop. Skillinjah & Rick Haze share a song well and I’d like to hear them do more work together.
I hear some animosity towards the Reggae movement in his “Def Poetry” track, with his spoken words: “I’m sick of people calling it a movement, but they put the gates up and have little clicks and shit and act like they dictate whats great or who they’ll inflate”, later saying: “I hope y’all open your eyes to the movement you participate, ’cause it may be closer to the ones you hate”. Haze sounds more frustrated with how a reggae community turned into more of a business of income & percentages, than art & collaboration. While the perspective can be debated, I loved the Spoken Word concept as an addition to Daily Observations.
“G Funk Roots” is a reggae hip-hop rendition of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin N Juice” and hearing this remix only makes me yearn for the original. It comes off too karaoke as Haze changes up the lyrics of the original, altering them enough to fit his style & beat. If anyone were able to do a Reggae Hip-Hop remix of this song successfully, it’d be Snoop Dogg & Dr. Dre. Being an underground, Independent hip-hop artist covering a legendary hip-hop song by adding a reggae element to the beat and changing the words around isn’t enough to emerge as anything more than a couple novelty listens. Doing remixes or covers is tricky & unfortunately, it didn’t work out with this song & concept.
The whole album was created on an Akai MPC while using vintage dub effects. Rick Haze mixed & engineered the whole album himself and while that’s commendable, I feel the album could have benefited more from collaboration with other producers & outside influences providing the album & sound with more depth & perspective. The content & concept is there, but not so much with the end result in production & delivery.
I understand that the concept of Daily Observations was to take things back to old-school hip-hop with a reggae flare, but the finished product of the album sounds more like a starting point to build off of. Yes, there are decent songs on the album, with good ideas & Rick Haze is a talented hip-hop artist with potential in production, but the album as a whole fell flat, stagnant & unimpressive. Even still, I’d be curious to hear more Rick Haze music as he continues to evolve & produce.
Written & Reviewed By: Mike Patti
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]