Lending their names to one of the most famous hip hop producers of all time brings a lot of history and possibly some expectation to live up to his standards. Of course, that would be a foolish thing to do but nevertheless SumoChief have upheld James Dewitt Yancey’s reputation and name with their style of acoustic hip hop.
SumoChief (formerly Yancey Boys) are a jazz/hip hop collective heavily inspired by J Dilla (of course) as well as D’Angelo, The Roots and The Robert Glasper Experiment. The group comprises of Joe Armon-Jones on keys, Jack Polley on bass, Oscar Laurence on guitar and Olly Sarkar on drums. The first time I saw them perform was at RKZ’s gig at The Water Rats a few weeks ago. The name immediately rang alarm bells and my assumptions were confirmed when they started their set.
Their adaptations of a few Dilla pieces and their quality of improvisation struck a chord with me as a hip hop, jazz and general Dilla fan but what I loved most about them was their rawness. They were a little rough around the edges, yes, but that organic nature to their sound really echoed the sentiments of their inspirations.