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Ben Beam – Patterns (Instrumental Album Review)

Today our #GxldApproved project comes from producer Ben Beam. Released February 28th, Patterns is his debut album as a production engineer. This instrumental album is a treasure chest of boom bap beats, etheral soundscapes, with a few surprise guest appearances from a handful of upcoming Charleston artists.

The 25-track project hosts a string of beats that are blends of classical hip-hop mixed with Ben Beam’s signature jazzy, atonal style. It begins with some straight cut lo-fi instrumentals that would be fit for artists like J.Cole, Common, and Mos Def. Patterns keeps the same unshaken vintage vibe all the way through.

Ben Beam’s production style encompasses attributes of some of the most well-known beatmakers in classical hip hop. The pace of greats like J Dilla, the ruggedness of Madlib, and the loop style of Alchemist. He even gets a bit saucy towards the middle-end of the album, reaches in his 9th Wonder bag, and uses some well-placed samples in “I’m Sorry”, “Baby Stay” and “Without You”.

Now for these featured verses. Not only did Ben Beam give us a smooth, steady stream of lo-fi waves, he also surprised us with a few guest artists on the tape.

“On and On” featuring BadTalks and B.A.S.I.C, is the first artist-featured track on the album. Primed with subtle, soul vocals from B.A.S.I.C, both artists drop smooth, glossy 16 bar verses over this ‘brass-brushed’ production.

“Whatever I Say I Am” takes the tempo of the album up notch with some potent lyricism from Righteous Rel and Nu. Their cadence and style fit perfectly with the Ben Beam produced knock, as they stomp on the track with a Joey Bad A$$, Capital Steez-type flow. Nu is quickly becoming a prominent name amongst hip-hop fans and lyricists in Charleston, so it’s awesome to see him blend of his style over Ben Beam’s instrumentation.

Patterns also features verses from Scrilla843, C.Shreve the Professor, King Cutler, and Malcom Fl3x. It is gratifying to see rising underground talents sprinkled throughout the album. Especially, when they accept the challenge and execute as well as they did over Ben Beam’s ‘golden era’ hip-hop beats.

Ben Beam stayed in the pocket of 70-95 BPMs and put together a slick stroll of classical hip hop production. I enjoyed the level of live instrumentation and simplistic beat structures that leave room for the songwriter to breathe and put their pens to the test.

I look forward to hearing a wider variety of sounds from the producer in the future, but Patterns is an overall solid display of Ben Beam’s current production aesthetic.

Before you go, don’t forget to tap in and listen to Ben Beam’s Patterns and come check out his event Charleston Underground 6.0 at Lo-Fi Brewery on March 18th!