SpaceLAB Recordings in association with Soulspazm Records is proud to unveil ‘Solving Cases’ – the slow-cooked, long-awaited collaborative LP from New Jersey mainstay and one-half of the legendary Artifacts crew – El Da Sensei, and Brooklyn-by-way-of-Tennessee producer/MC/engineer Jake Palumbo, whose credits behind the boards include Black Moon, Ras Kass, Smif-N-Wessun and Roc Marciano amongst a lengthy list of others.
The unlikely musical & personal bond began in the studio during the summer of 2014, when Jake was brought in to begin mixing ‘XL’ – El Da Sensei’s collaborative LP with Sadat X of Brand Nubian which hit retailers in summer 2018. Many a long night of mixing sessions would segway into many a long night of smoke sessions, with Jake playing his latest batches of beats for El, who often would write and record to them on the spot. What began as a single collab eventually segwayed into plans for an EP. The workflow and camaraderie in the studio was so painless & fun, it was quickly agreed that the EP should become a full-length.
The two continued working together regularly, with El appearing on the single and video ‘Gravy Like Gumbo,’ off 2017’s ‘Jake It Till You Make It’ LP. In 2019, Shabaam Sahdeeq featured the “Sensei from NJ” on the ‘Graffiti The World’ single and video, coincidentally rhyming over a Palumbo instrumental. And Jake sat behind the boards once again, mixing the entirety of ‘No Expiration Date’ – the long-awaited third Artifacts LP, produced entirely by D.I.T.C. alumni Buckwild. The two also made a memorable appearance together on Tony Touch’s weekly SiriusXM show Toca Tuesdays, with a blazing freestyle session captured on film.
As both men juggled hectic schedules of touring, features & studio work, slowly but surely the ‘Solving Cases’ LP began to take shape, as El and Jake met up whenever time permitted, continuously decorating the canvas with more sonic spray paint. It was important to both artists to craft an album that was true & authentic to the sound that has helped El earn his reputation, while also attempting to break new ground musically. Palumbo’s production proudly “sticks out like a sore thumb” as he describes it, and this can be heard throughout the album as traditional boom bap and dusty samples play nicely alongside textural keyboards, 808’s and the trademark bounce and “swang” of Jake’s unshakeable Southern roots. Meanwhile, El Da Sensei turns in a lyrical performance that reminds listeners why he hasn’t fallen off once in 25+ years, sounding enthusiastically refreshed on the mic.