2020’s been a shit show. Everyone knows it. Rhymesayers Entertainment definitely do since they, seemingly at random, decided to brighten things up by surprising us all with another instalment from the legendary Felt. It’s strange how something can be both highly anticipated and completely unexpected, but for fans of the super group of sorts that is Felt, that’s exactly what this fourth album is, and those fans won’t need this, or any, review. If you know, you know, you know?
For the uninitiated, Felt is Murs, From LA’s Living Legends crew, and Slug, from indie powerhouse Atmosphere, this time joined on production by his cohort Ant. Their last album, A Tribute to Rosie Perez was around eleven years ago, fully cementing their position as cult heroes, spoken about in the same fervour as rare Dan the Automator collabs and Country Mike. But then, that, apparently, was it. Three much loved albums and then…done. Until last week. Until Felt 4 U, a timely, and timeless collection that makes it feel like they never went away. But this isn’t a “we’re just as good as the youngsters” or a “who needs them, anyway.”
There’s no pandering here, or obedience to any trends, this is the sound of mature and practiced veterans, showcasing their individual talents and complimenting each other and the beats perfectly. With Slug, it’s his candour, a kind of humble, open-hearted charm that is automatically endearing, rapping ‘Oh Please. Ain’t nobody gotta treat me like an OG,’ knowing that some people see him as far more than that. Murs’ part is cool-headed every man, relatable down to the Prodigy album playing in the background, honest to a sometimes uncomfortable fault.
Musically, Ant establishes a great backdrop for the interplay between the two rappers, utilising some very eighties, Eddie Murphy with a flat top synths, as well as g-funk vibrations and some pretty gnarly guitars in a way that makes me think he’s been studiously amassing sounds for the past decade. The production in general has a wholesome, rounded, live-band feel that is certain to translate well to the stage once the nightmare of corona eases up and allows them to tour. As for features; they’re, as expected, quite sparse aside from a couple of lovely vocal turns, and notable, and always welcome features from former Felt producers Aesop Rock and The Grouch.
Ultimately, and maybe obviously given the Prince tribute in the title, Felt 4 U, despite all the introspective frankness and existential angst both rappers are so good at conveying, is a party album. It’s an album you can play at brunch with your mum, while you’re bunning it down, while you’re getting intimate. Whoever you are, its Felt 4 U.