Pacific Rose


INgrooves/Fontana Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Hailing from Venice, California, songwriter, producer, and MC Pause cut his teeth playing West Los Angeles clubs for several years while spearheading funk bands. Now taking a leap into a solo endeavor, he works his '90s Nor Cal roots into a soulful mix of brassy beats with hip-hop, jazz, and R&B influences into one very eclectic rap album with my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Pacific Rose.

Taking help from luminary Double K (of People Under The Stars fame) who added beats and verses and helped out with production, this first album defies easy categorization, each track finding new textures and influences. Pause leads off with “Comin' Out Of The Darkness” with a barrage of vintage clips, and from the onset the listeners knows full well this isn't going to be your standard rap disc. He definitely makes good use of samples such as the track “It Keeps On Raining,” and his energy is barely uncontainable on songs like “Shouts Out” and “Look At Me Now” – both of which are addictive enough to make Pause a household name among this genre. His best work here is when he spreads his wings, specifically the track “Caroline.” His R&B stabs here are a creative high on Pacific Rose and illustrate his ability to walk down different musical paths.

Lyrically, Pause shines as well. One thing that has always vexed me about this genre is the incessant rhyming that often twists syntax or brings in irrelevant words just to make something rhyme. Pause, on the other hand, never sounds forced and makes his points eloquently sans any sort of reaching for a rhyme. Topics covered include striving for peacefulness, the strife of relationships, and even some self-reflections about his career, as he takes the high road with the often-personal subject matter.

This disc sometimes features a '90s throwback feel, while other times venturing away from his California hip-hop vibe; there's a lot of addictive melody and infectious beats running through this. Pause is often backed by soulful female vocals, and his forthright wordplay complements the mature, sophisticated musicianship. It is a solid and worthwhile debut album.

Rating: B

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© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of INgrooves/Fontana Records, and is used for informational purposes only.