Chattanooga hip-hop musicians CD7 and Cinematic have long held compatible perspectives on music, with each operating from a foundation of expansive influences and broad emotional reach. Their work, both solo and collaborative, is filled with impressive vocal theatrics and skittish beats that feel simultaneously weighted and weightless. They’re able to skirt experimentally along the edges of this genre while still making use of its ingrained musical histories.
CD7 is interested in the ways in which sound and emotion collide in abrupt and forceful ways, delivering visceral thrills and lyrical barbs while zigzagging through a landscape of dense rhythmic movements. Cinematic doesn’t stray too far from this approach, but he’s also concerned with how pop and R&B can infiltrate and influence hip-hop’s more dramatic tendencies. And when they get together, their twin creativities merge into something that clings to their individual aesthetics while also opening up to explore a much larger collective musical consciousness.
On their new single, “Money & Power (Pop Mystic),” they embrace the smooth grooves of modern R&B as they peel back the shadows on the harder-edged insight that comes from street-level hip-hop observations. Atmospheric sounds flit around in the background as the beat slowly arrives beneath their circling voices, creating a complex portrait of a parallel musical alliance that gives each the room to evolve their personal melodic techniques.
Taken from the upcoming EP, “Money & Power” (due out sometime later this Summer), the track is brash but understated, a scathing examination and indictment of power, money, unreserved braggadocio and the need for companionship. CD7 and Cinematic once again bring their considerable wit and production wizardry to bear on a song that becomes a statement of sorts on the relevance and viability of these kinds of musical partnerships. They’re quite clever in how they set up a minimal foundation on which to offer their rhythmic wares while also cementing their position as two of the hardest working artists in the Scenic City.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.