Back in May, live hip-hop collective Of Mice and Musicians dropped “Summertime” from their sophomore release Sugar in the Raw. In June, Assemble hosted a private listening party for the album in the sanctuary. The album is finally here today and available for free, presented by Five30 Music.
It is evident that the group has grown substantially from their debut release Bottles & Bones four years ago. Now two albums in, Of Mice and Musicians have managed to carve their own niche as a hip-hop entity with their rock sensibilities and grounded subject matter. On “Lou Dobs,” frontman Benjamin Miles takes a jab at slanted journalism. By dismissing scare tactics by the mass media, Miles is able to live a much fuller life, free from the shackles of fear.
Perhaps the most charming moment can be found on “Simplest Things,” a song that doesn’t just take a step back from the rest of the album, but life itself. Sometimes the only answer is to take things slowly and appreciate all that you have in this very moment. Finding the time to appreciate the sweeter moments in the day-to-day drawl.
“In accordance with that theme, the album art features images of sugar cane, both growing and harvested. Of Mice and Musicians believes that raw, unprocessed sugar serves as an appropriate metaphor for its “live band” approach to cross-genre hip-hop.
“The sounds are grown naturally and harvested by hand, as a group. Processed sugar may taste sweeter than it’s natural base component, and pre-programmed notes may likewise ring truer. But, if you are looking for purity in your music catalog, there is no substitution for Sugar in the Raw.”
Recorded at Assemble Sound, co-produced by Seth Anderson and mixed by Eddie Logix. All songs written by Of Mice and Musicians.