A.G. & John Robinson – Penelope [EP]

A.G. & John Robinson swim deeply within a heavy stack of lushly floating, jazz-funk-knitted arrangements from producer Ray West on their latest joint EP, Penelope. While there is a drum-machine & sample chop undercurrent driving just beneath the surface of this project, the trio seem to opt for a more neo-soul vibe that is more akin to Musiq Soulchild and Coultrain than it is to either emcee’s grittier, boom-bap work up to this point. The change of pace is welcomed and works over the course of the project’s eight tracks as there is no “stick to the script” formula at play here and shows some nice “don’t box me in” growth from the group. Standouts include a sinuous love note to the ladies (and revealing wears they occasionally dress in) called “Low Kut”, an Eastern leaning gem called “Neva Ends”, a post-disco synth funk-strumental called “Down 4 Me”, and my personal fave, the tumbling piano key driven title cut “Penelope” (featuring BLU and Dave Dar).

Penelope is the 2nd installment from the AG & John Robinson EP series produced by Ray West. This time around they call on the prolific West Coast wordsmith BLU on the title track “Penelope” where all the emcees are painting verbal pictures of their own personal Dream Girl, this track also features frequent collaborator Dave Dar. The soundscapes provided by Ray West are ill collages of jazz loops, live horns, percussion sounds, vintage drum machines and more. Each of these recording sessions were labeled “Tea with the Butcha” by the collective and it truly does describe the essence of the sounds and conversations on these recordings

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