Panacea, The Scenic Route (2007)
The music of Washington, D.C. hip-hop duo Panacea is almost achingly soft—quiet storm, yacht-rock soft. Producer K-Murdock’s tracks on The Scenic Route, the group’s second full-length album, seem to float in the air instead of bump out of the speakers. Other producers have crafted recordings that sound like the hip-hop equivalent of notorious 80s ambient-jazz imprint Windham Hill. K-Murdock deserves special mention, however, for not only making incredibly smooth music, but heightening its angelic, otherworldly quality with eerie fade-outs and strange, treble effects. But K-Murdock’s beats tend to overshadow Raw Poetic’s lyrical performance. While not a bad rapper, Raw Poetic lacks a distinct voice, and his cool, even tones tend to get lost amidst the lushness of K-Murdock’s work. Most of his rhymes seem to focus on personal journey and discovery: on “Bubble,” he dreams of drifting underwater and floating in a bubble. “Please splash to the crew y’all/Flashback to backpacks and schoolyards,” he raps. These gauzy songs blend into one another, the sonic equivalent of a listless Sunday afternoon drive. Glow-In-The-Dark Records, with distribution by Rawkus.