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DJBooth Album Review
Usually when you graduate from high school you go to college or maybe work for your parents; something anticlimactic and predictable. Instead, imagine yourself meeting Pharrell Williams, booking a nationwide tour with T-Pain and Gym Class Heroes and doing tracks with Wyclef Jean, Shaggy, OAR and Pharrell himself; all in just two years following graduation. That’s the life Cris Cab is living.
Cab was born in Miami, Florida in 1993. He is of 100% Cuban descent and spent most of his childhood growing up between Miami and the Bahamas. Ever since he was 11 he was never able to put down a guitar. And growing up being influenced by Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye has given him a sound that I’ve honestly never heard before. The best way to describe Cab’s music is a combination of John Mayer and Bob Marley with a little hip-hop flavor for good measure. He’s got the reggae chop and Caribbean rhythm mixed with clever lyricism and a flat out amazing voice. He sticks within his comfort zone and doesn’t do too much. All his songs are simple, catchy and just plain good. Throw on a Cris Cab record and you will transport yourself to a beach party in Grand Bahama with a Corona in one hand and a beautiful girl holding the other.
You may recognize Cab’s older covers of Black and Yellow and All of the Lights but his most recent project Echo Boom is Cab’s first chance to establish his own original style. When I saw that he had such big names featured on the mixtape, and that Pharrell was backing the project, I was surprised. I never knew that these guys had ever heard of Cab let alone took him seriously enough to collaborate. But after hearing Echo Boom start to finish, it all makes sense.
The title track, Echo Boom, lets you know that you are in for something different. It is the perfect song to catch your ear and make you say "Hold on. Rewind. Who is this?” Up next is Put in Work, where Cab literally puts in amazing work in the studio and comes out with a great dance track that lets you know he’s for real. Rihanna’s Gun, featuring Mavado and Wyclef, has much more of a hip-hop and almost dubstep feel that sets you in a trance. I also love Turn You On, featuring Melanie Fiona and Shaggy, that has such a real reggae feel you can almost smell the limes and tikki torches. I can’t forget about Cross Your Fingers which would be a great single by itself, but also shows his diversity by adding a pop dynamic. I mean, I could really go on and on and on. There is not a bad song on the damn mixtape!
Most of all, with this mixtape, you tend to forget how young he is. Cris Cab is only 19, and it amazes me how well he has clearly defined his sound. When you are young it’s hard not to get caught up in trying to make a name for yourself and trying too hard to impress everyone. So every musician usually takes years and years to weed through everything to develop a unique vibe that you can consistently come to expect. My only critique is that too many of the songs sound similar, but even still Cab seems beyond his years in almost every way.
So I think you can tell that I’m a fan. It’s pretty clear that he’s got talent, he’s found a special sound and he’s teamed up with some of the best people in the music industry. To be honest, I really hope he doesn’t screw it up. He’s got everything going for him and I just don’t want to see him getting caught up too much into what a record label wants him to play or what the radio wants to hear. If Cris stays true to himself and his roots, he will be fine.
But, as of now, it seems like he’s on the right track with a very bright future. So pick up the Echo Boom mixtape for free to start your collection of what seems to be a long and successful Cris Cab discography. Cause just like the rest of the Echo Boomer generation, he’s going places places places places… BOOM!
DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins
Written by Max August on 02/14/12
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