"Remember Me," Sage the Gemini (Universal Republic)
There is a distinct old school West Coast vibe to rapper Sage the Gemini's first album "Remember Me." Minimalist beat structures blend with an assured lyrical approach to make this debut memorable indeed.
Sage the Gemini burst into wider consciousness a year ago with his well-received single "Gas Pedal." That dance-friendly track sets the tone for "Remember Me," an album that pays a stylistic homage to northern California's Oakland/Fairfield/Vallejo nook of hip-hop creativity.
The title track "Remember Me" has a spacey melody interspersed with booming bass and finger snaps that would have been at home on any late 1980s Too Short track. This song and "Red Nose" smartly make as much use of silence between sounds as they do of the beats and melodies themselves.
The true gem is "Go Somewhere," which sets aside the leering lasciviousness of "Gas Pedal." Here, Sage the Gemini and featured rapper Iamsu offer a more gentlemanly approach for the targets of their affection. It's one of the smoothest hip-hop tracks you'll hear this year and a slow clap is due for Sage the Gemini and his debut album that refuses to shout in an age of endless noise.