Historians will write about hip hop music with a primary focus on its lyrical content and social influence. Rightly so. The impact of the genre runs deep and worldwide. It continues to inform pop music styles and youth culture to an extent few imagined back in the 1970s.
But as penetrating as that influence has been, there is another aspect of the music that has had a far-reaching effect. Manny Marko’s Flips4Lyf is an excellent example of the purely musical influence hip hop has exerted.
Marko has produced an elegant eight-track disc of hip hop instrumentals for Mana Records. It’s received too little attention since its release in September. There is a craftsmanship here that will appeal to fans of both hip hop and ambient electronic music.
The fact that Marko calls Scotland home serves to emphasize the global influence of this music. “I grew up mainly on funk and soul music as my mum was an avid listener,” he told me. “I’ve always loved head-nodding rhythms and I’ve tried to apply that to my music as much as possible. I’ve also been an MC for years so hip hop is in my blood.”
I only wish Flips4Lyf ran longer than its 25 minutes. The vibe is so easy, and the beats so crisp that you’ll wish it kept going.
In a similar vein, it would be great to hear more of this pure hip hop influence in electronic music. Obviously, it’s not virgin territory, the downtempo scene is a rich one. But there is room for a lot more good work there, along the lines of what Marko has produced.