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Venice, California is known as the birthplace of numerous punk and metal acts (Suicidal Tendencies, Beowülf, etc.), but soon the small beachfront community will also be known as the birthplace of hip-hop MC/songwriter/producer Pause (AKA Daniel Kushnir).

After spending a handful of years concentrating on live performances, Pause headed into the studio to create Pacific Rose, his solo debut. The result is a base of classic California-bred hip-hop peppered with jazz and soul, along with a few surprises thrown into the mix to keep listeners guessing.

The best part of Pacific Rose is that it’s hard to categorize; each track changes things up just slightly. At times, it dips into early nineties nostalgia (MC Serch… yeah, I went there). Other times, infectious, J Dilla-inspired beats dominate, giving listeners a nod to the hip-hop of a decade prior. And occasionally, Pause doesn’t sound anything like a Southern California MC, as his lyrics and delivery bend more toward Midwest folks like Aeon Grey.

But while Pacific Rose pays its respects to the hip-hop of the past, it shines when it finds its own sound. Like any good album, the music should be less about what hip-hop is, and more about what hip-hop can be. And while the album doesn’t follow that credo 100% of the time, it manages to veer off and become its own thing numerous times throughout its nine-track course.

It’s a great start for Pause, especially when you find out that Double K of People Under the Stairs contributed both beats and verses to the album. Not a bad guest to have show up on your freshman release, right?

Learn more about Pause and Pacific Rose here.

Below is the music video for “Caroline,” the album’s second track. Check it out:

Paused,

-Shady

Old Poop!