Sam Baker, is a renowned Detroit-born, Los Angeles-based producer, who’s best known under his recording and production moniker Samiyam. And when Baker’s career started in earnest, he was among a group of post-J. Dilla Donuts producers, who focused on instrumental work, rather than the traditional emcee/producer collaborations — and he was circulating beat tapes among local crew in Michigan and through zip files to friends on the web. Eventually, many of those Donuts-inspired producers, including Baker began relocating to Los Angeles and were created a scene around the Low End Theory in East Los Angeles. As part of East Los Angeles’ burgeoning producer and artist scene, Baker eventually wound up meeting renowned producer and artist Flying Lotus, who quickly signed Baker to his Brainfeeder Records and then released the Detroit-born producer’s first two albums, 2008’s Rap Beats Vol. 1 (which was coincidentally, Brainfeeder’s first release) and 2011’s Sam Baker’s Album. And as a result of the attention he had received from his first two releases, Baker experienced a breakout 2013 which saw the release of his third full-length effort Wish You Were Here as well as collaborations with Earl Sweatshirt, Captain Murphy (the alter-ego of the aforementioned Flying Lotus) and Pharoahe Monch.
Animals Have Feelings is his fourth full-lenght effort and his Stone Throw Records debut, and as Baker explained in press notes, he has considered the effort a creative sequel to Rap Beats Vol. 1. “Animals has roots in beats made around the time of Vol. 1, and the new stuff on the record has some of the same sound.” And while the material on the album is mostly instrumental beat-driven hip-hop along the veins of the aforementioned J. Dilla, Madlib’s Beat Konducta series, Oddisee‘s production work and others; however, there a few traditional rap tracks — but they feature the few and yet very frequent collaborators Baker works with the most: Earl Sweatshirt, Action Bronson, Jeremiah Jae and Oliver the 2nd.
Now, if you had been frequenting this site earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about two singles off the album — “Mr. Wonderful” a collaboration with Action Bronson, that has Bronson rhyming and crooning over boom-bap beats and flashes of synth in a song that channels Raekwon‘s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx; and “Dartgun,” an instrumental track consisting of layers of buzzing synths, boom bap drum programming which channels the legendary and beloved work of J. Dilla and of Dam-Funk — while evoking a singular, funky vision. The album’s third and latest single is a shuffling and kaleidoscopic collaboration with Earl Sweatshirt “Mirror” that also features a surreal array of obscure 60s psych rock and 70s soul samples paired with boom-bap beats paired with Earl Sweatshirt dexterous inner and out rhymes — some dealing with issues of identity vs. how others perceive you and more.
The recently released music video employs the use of equally trippy animation — some of it being hilariously cartoonish, some of being nightmarish, some of it being surreal and it captures the trippy and fucked up feel of the song.