AMPP: Return Of The Groovebox is not only a new album by d.o.n., but it seems to be a continuation and appreciation of the kind of gritty hip-hop that sounds as rough and raw as something someone made down the street, but can sound more powerful than what you might hear on the radio or TV.
I think the subtitle Return Of The Groovebox is a slight indication as to what it might sound like: going back to basics, going back to the basement, going back and seeing how old tools of music creativity can be used to make the music of today. d.o.n. used the Roland MC-505 Groovebox to create the entire album, and while not considered a tool of most hip-hop production, it was one of his first ways to make music. The end result is a satisfying album that shows no matter how you do it or what you use, you can still make some hot music when you put your mind in to it. All of these tracks sound like they were recorded on and mastered to cassette, and without samples or recognizable hooks, d.o.n. relies on his lyrics and his creativity to show that it can be done. For some listeners, it may very well remind them of their first experiences with hip-hop music and why they were floored by it, perhaps for the feel of the words, the way sounds collided with one another, or it becoming some people’s first taste of minimalism. It might remind people of the hybrid of music that came out in the late 80′s/early 90′s when dance/techno/house artists were using hip-hop style production to push themselves, and hip-hop tried a bit of house to get their music to a wider audience by exploring the dance floor. It sounds like the origins of hip-hop’s own exploration, and it’s nice for that to be continued on in 2012.