Nosaj Thing: “Way We Were” (feat. Zuri Marley)

Like a lot of SoCal kids of a certain age, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and their g-funk peers soundtracked Jason Chung’s adolescence. “Listening to a producer like Dre made me realize that there were brilliant people behind the boards actually making the beats,” Chung once told Resident Advisor. Around 2009 he fell in with a new crew of forward-thinking producers that orbited around L.A.’s Low End Theory, the venue and scene that helped launch Flying Lotus. Over time, Chung has taken Low End’s experimental tendencies and melded them to his own understated style. Now, Chung himself is a brilliant beatmaker, working with Kendrick Lamar and Chance The Rapper under the moniker Nosaj Thing.

Parallels, his fourth album, isn’t as weird as a lot of his L.A. compatriots’ work, but it’s no less captivating. On “Way We Were,” Chung teams up with Zuri Marley (Bob Marley’s granddaughter) for a song that slides across the dance floor at a dreamy pace. Chung stays out of Marley’s way, allowing her pillow-soft voice to fill the space while he colors in the margins with delicate synths and taps of percussion. It’s a step removed from the SoCal bump-and-grind he grew up with, but with any luck, Chung’s own music will be a jumping-off point for the next generation of beatmakers.

“Way We Were” appears on Parallels, out now.

–Art Levy // host, Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX

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