Published: January 8, 2013
By: Gracie Roberts
Back in mid-December, Vokab Kompany and Crush Effect debuted VKCE. Bringing together the famed vocals of Vokab Kompany and the instrumental talent of Crush Effect, VKCE is an important benchmark for hip-hop fans and artists alike.
Vokab Kompany has been making a name since the group’s inception in 2006, when it was founded by vocalist Robbie Gallo in San Diego, California. Six years later, Vokab Kompany’s music has been featured in multiple commercials and the group has been awarded Best Hip-Hop Album of 2010 for their album The New Kong and Best Hip Hop Band of 2011 in their hometown.
Crush Effect, another San Diego act, comprised of David Veith (producer/keyboards), Jesse Molloy (producer/sax), and Carlos Perez (live drums) has been busy honing its own sound. While working on tracks with artists such as Outasight, Souleye, and Cook Classics, Crush Effect’s collaborations have brought them to cities and venues across the globe. It was only a matter of time before the two sonic juggernauts joined forces.
VKCE opens with “Back to the Past,” a groove-centered piece that features top-volume vocals possessing a Beastie Boys aesthetic with rapid-fire delivery. “Don’t Owe You” follows the album’s energetic first track with a more subdued vibe. Crush Effect’s drums bring an element of live performance to the track.
“So Many Places” and “Beautiful Piano” take the energy down a notch and demonstrate each group’s knack for creating electronic music with soulful, bluesy elements. Both of these tracks feature sounds of saxophone and electric piano, which give them the relaxed feel of lounge music.
The album’s last three tracks return to the high-energy level of VKCE’s opener. In “Loud Enough,” a blaring synth beat blasts over muffled vocals. While most tracks place focus on the lyrics, “Loud Enough” shines a light on the more EDM-like components of the album. “Burn It Down” continues with this hardcore sound by including a rapid beat and high-pitch synthesizers. You might recognize the cut from Southern Comfort’s Fiery Pepper commercial, which began airing back in October of 2011. “Harlem River” closes out the album in a jazzy mood with hints of dreamy electric piano melodies and smooth vocal rhythms.
With VKCE in the bag, it’s unclear whether this forward-thinking project is a one-off attempt, or the start of a lasting relationship. One thing is for certain, it’s a hot listen for cold nights, and that SoCal sound is irrepressible. Let’s hope there’s more.