J Robb’s Trash 3 is a world to hear
Words by Brinsley Chidavaenzi
Trash 3 is the sound of what happens when the right person gets the aux chord at a party.
SOULECTION is the sound of now in a unique way – in which it’s the progressive + familiar, forgotten at once merged into a sound that’s uniquely postmodern. The internet is a blessing that allows anyone of any age to study the musical art form to understand various iterations and sounds in a short period of time, without having to have lived the entirety of a half century to learn the ways sounds interweave generationally. By extension j.robb’s series of ‘trash beats’ is proof that anyone can be a good student of the game this way. The project is n exercise of mashing up popular acapellas of classics and current tracks; with original production, loops, samples as well as original songs in a way that’s DJ friendly. Trash 3 captures SOULECTION’s modus operandi in a single project without breaking a sweat over it’s duration of over 70+ minutes. Trash 3’s 30 tracks scans in a way that reminds me of 2017’s More Life playlist in terms of transitions, interconnectedness and free-flow structure.
Older sounds perk up the ears as feeling fresh and new when paired with contemporary moments. I heard the following amount of genres or ideas/sounds from these genres throughout my listening experience:
Baile, Baltimore Club, Trap, Dance, Reggae, Gospel, New Orleans Bounce, Breakbeat, House, UK Garage, Dancehall, Ambient, Slow Funk, R&B, Reggaeton, 00’s Hip-Hop.
Remix culture gives producers the chance to change the architecture of an existing song and shift it into different environments. Sometimes by reduction and removing vocals, sometimes by changing the speed of a song or completely reimagining a song. The earliest forms of these guiding principles can be found within the form of dub music from Jamaica in the late 1960’s. Later being permeated into practice in New York by breakthroughs in DJ’ing techniques, with the boom of the disco scene and genesis of Hip-Hop. There’s as much homage to genres as there is homage to specific producers throughout the tape; both to contemporaries and producers that laid the groundwork for sonics we hear today. Standout ‘dababyriddim’ turns Da Baby’s slick talk over a minimal synths and 808’s to somewhat menacing rude boy talk over 70’s reggae and dub work. It’s almost a full circle as reggae and dub exist in a similar tempo bracket to trap production and the history of rapping/MC’ing can be traced back to ‘toasting’ which extends back to the Caribbean in the late 1950’s and further back to griots from West Africa.
‘beltwaycallss’ frames Gunna’s One Call with Solange’s beltway in a way that feels confessional, healing and soul warming. The song takes Solange’s refrains and uses them as a vessel for Gunna’s words and emotions to hit differently. What feel like they would flexes, feel like spurges of expression – both reflective and sporadic. Trash 3 really excels at utilising it’s source material to the fullest material of reimagining, flicking back to the original source of where these songs are from shows his ability to resist an outcome that’s predictable.
My personal favourite moments on the project shine from this principle and j.robb pulls this off several times throughly. If there’s anyone dissatisfied with how popular music sounds, trash 3 is a excellent way to say ‘Hold up’ and make you rethink that idea entirely. For a project called trash 3, the results, attention to detail and knowledge of sound is far from it.