The sixteen-piece collective known as The Urban Renewal Project is back and doubling down on the live-band hiphop aesthetic that has set them apart from their jazz-funk and fusion contemporaries. Between coast-to-coast tour dates with rap legends Camp Lo and a transpacific festival appearance in Jakarta, Indonesia last year, the Los Angeles-based group has found time to record new material that explores an updated version of the Golden Era hiphop sound—infectious rap hooks, concentrated horn lines and a heavy dose of live drums—creating positive vibes just begging to be danced to.
Long-time collaborator Elmer Demond and his laid-back flows are joined by the manic and unpredictable newcomer Slim da Reazon, as well as the band’s once-and-future bassist Dustin Morgan, a.k.a. Yung Jinja, now rocking the mic. The trio rhyme over instrumental grooves devised by bandleader R.W. Enoch and the group’s 13 instrumentalists while Alex Nester provides effortless soul, pop and funk vocals to complete the ensemble.
‘Red Eye’ is inspired by the bands tour to Indonesia where they performed at Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta. Elmer Demond and Slim da Reazon weave those Southeast Asian experiences together to paint a picture of late nights on the road with The Urban Renewal Project. Demond reveals, “We met some amazing people over there, and I studied with some local gamelan musicians and worked with them to record on authentic balinese instruments for elements of this track (‘gamelan’ is the local bahasa word for the Indonesian traditional orchestra)”.
‘Red Eye’ is from their forthcoming EP titled Love Glory Duty Death.