November 4, 2011 SOUNDS ⁄  FAR (OUT) EAST

BEST COAST? What side of the hip-hop divide do you stand on? East or West Coast? Here at JUKE we’re definitely leaning to the East at the minute and we don’t mean Bad Boy; we’re talking FAR East.

No Matter What by Onra

Most people who travel to Vietnam usually go with the intention of either lazing about on a beach, containing the spread of communism, or seeking out an opium den to relax in. Like any real hip-hop head, when Parisian beatsmith Onra holidayed over there, he went crate digging for rare oriental dub plates.His haul of vinyl formed the backbone of his album Chinoiseries, a tour de force of modern hip-hop. Masterfully crafted beats and grooves resonate with a distinctly old-skool West Coast feel, but rapping has been substituted with grainy samples of screeching high-pitched vocals and traditional instruments that are a staple of Chinese and Vietnamese folk ballads. It’s a virtuoso blend of East meets West in a genre that has gone dizzy from chasing its tail for so long.

Onra recently revealed he’s adding a Part 2 to Chinoiseries with the teaser track ‘No Matter What’. It has all the flavours of the orient that made the original so iconic, coupled with those West Coast, cruising in your low rider rollers. He’s not been giving away many clues as to what to expect in the Chinoiseries sequel, but someone of Onra’s calibre isn’t likely to rest on their laurels, especially when originality was what made the previous record doper than golden triangle smack.


[Aleks Eror]