The title of Statik Selektah’s sixth LP feels particularly appropriate for this point in his career. With his reputation as a skilled and dynamic hip-hop producer in the sample-based tradition of DJ Premier and other East Coast legends firmly established, it’s just a matter of waiting for everyone else to recognize the consistently strong material he’s been putting out for years. Lucky for him, that time might be near. Here, Joey Bada$$ and Freddie Gibbs team up on “Carry On,” a glorious slice of vintage New York rap that’s all boom-bap drums, DJ cuts, and looped saxophone. It helps that many of the featured artists — including Action Bronson and Ab-Soul — have themselves reached career peaks, but Statik’s sharp instrumentals grab most of the attention. While sticking close to his familiar sonic palette, he sounds like he’s having a blast, whether crafting a dreamy jazz cut worthy of Pete Rock (“Alarm Clock”) or a dirty speakeasy stomp for longtime friends Reks and Termanology to run roughshod over (“Drunk and High”). All told, the LP stands as a convincing counterargument against those who claim hip-hop’s ’90s golden era can’t come back again.
ESSENTIAL “Carry On”Martín Caballero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @_el_caballero.