Beans Only

[Thirsty Ear; 2006]

Styles:  hip-hop
Others: El-P, Prefuse 73, Roots Manuva, Dizzee Rascal, Alias

I'm gonna go out on a limb right off the bat and say this is the best album Beans has and probably will ever come out with (not including the old Antipop Consortium days, of which Mr. Ballbeam was a big third). Thirsty Ear definitely deserves props for okaying this project. You see, Beans' solo hip-hop usually consists of fiercely minimal beats and sparse, sparse bloops and bleeps covered by his oddly melodical lyricism. Honestly, I really want to like all of it, but around a third of the material I've heard him release is just too flat and mechanical not to be boring. You don't have to worry about that with Only. The inspired idea behind this album was to have Beans "create a series of beats, and have those beats reinterpreted acoustically," in this case by bassist William Parker and percussionist Hamid Drake. That's not to say Only is a fucking campfire, but the human warmth these Thirty Ear residents add to each Beans beat is enough to stave off his usual dong-beating album-pace doldrums. Now, this is practically educational.

1. Only 5
2. Only 1
3. Only 7
4. Only 4
5. Only 3
6. Only 71
7. Only 118
8. Only 20
9. Only 56
10. Only 198