Cliff Herman – Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be [Review]
Vancouver, BC – After releasing three albums with Self Taught and one with Cloud City Classic, Cliff Herman aka Yo Playboy is ready to share his debut solo album, Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be. The album is five years in the making and was a side project that developed over the years. While contemplating the 90’s Cliff used this mindset to select some of the most un-hip-hop samples he could find and wrote songs to evoke the vaguest feelings of the “golden-era.” A self proclaimed jack of all trades, Cliff oversaw the production of all of the beats, writing of all the lyrics, recording of all the songs and the mixing and mastering.
Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be doesn’t venture into unexplored territory. It doesn’t challenge our understanding of hip-hop nor does it present us with anything groundbreaking that we haven’t heard before. It does, however play by the rules and in the process entertain us.
Props have to be given to Cliff for his outstanding effort on the album. Sonically the mixes and recording are first class and there are little to no emcees out there who can literally say they did their album 100% themselves. That being said, the guest appearances on the album really lower the overall quality of the production. The female vocalists were a nice touch but some of the other features felt like charity raps provided by acquaintances.
Cliff may not be the most technical emcee but he is genuine. His stories are authentic and easy to relate to and his delivery undeniable. He doesn’t try to be anything other than himself. “I grab the newspaper/sour keys some big leaf chew/them Old Dutch salt ’n vinegar chips, a Mountain Dew/I cannot lose” from “Kevin Arnold” is just so damn honest and real. I can literally smell the concrete on a hot summer’s day when I listen to this song. “Digital Bills” is probably the highlight on the album. The chorus is super catchy and easy to follow and Cliff did one hell of a job with the sample and the beat.
After listening to the album you truly get the impression that Cliff Herman is a real hip-hop disciple. He’s a terrific ambassador and knows his audience and how to connect with them. Make sure you checkout the album which will available December 5th through Chamberlain Drive Records.
Review written by Max Dishaw for HipHopCanada