On his latest album, Civilization, local artist Sweeps explores time travel with hip-hop as his copilot.

Packed with jazz-laced melodic rap beats and sci-fi thematics, local hip-hop producer Sweeps launches listeners through time and space with his latest album, Civilization. Blending 90s era hip-hop beats and 70s funk soul samples, Sweeps connects the past, present, and future, utilizing multiple artistic mediums along the way.

Sonically, Sweeps is like an intro to jazz for kids that grew up on hip-hop and don’t have the musical background for it. There’s a certain sweetness to the music: mellow beat pacing, soothing guitar plucking, and twinkling strums over angelic female vocals. With influences by producers like Kanye West, Sweeps uses a similar technique of speeding up the vocals in the sample, creating a high-pitched but pleasing sound when laid over the right soul beat. You can hear this effect on “Reach Out” delivering a celebratory, feel-good beat with similar components to Kanye’s cherished classic, “Through the Wire.

Hip hop purists will be satisfied with Sweeps selection of samples, which blur the lines between the past, present and future. He harnesses honey-dipped 70’s soul tracks,  blending in modern base hits and delivering smooth head-nodding rap beats. On “Another Time,” Sweeps samples “We Almost Lost Detroit” by Gil Scott Heron (1977)—a song that was also sampled in the beloved “Brown Skinned Lady” from Mos Def and Talib Kweli’s timeless Blackstar album (1998). Sweeps makes this beat his own by adding in more powerful baselines, snare hits and quick, rhythmic soul snaps to deliver a stronger punch.

More evidence of Sweeps’ time travels are found in the retro space, Jetsons-like styled album art, which  pulls imagery from 1950s pulp science fiction novels. Many of the songs, like “Living in Luxury,” also contain short clips of what sound like government-sponsored educational films from the same era, highlighting the grandiose, futuristic possibilities that were part of the American zeitgeist at that time.

Sweeps is making an effort to get the listener to examine where we’ve been, where we’re going, and the idea that you can and should still dream that anything is possible—no matter how far fetched it seems in today’s America.

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