SD Hip-Hop Duo Feels Smooth on ‘Purple Cashmere'

A seven-song EP from producer Trust One and MC Sam R I

In March, San Diego hip-hop duo Trust One (producer) and Sam R I (MC) released "Purple Cashmere," a seven-song EP as smooth its title suggests, made from easy rolling head nodders and free association wordplay.

Over mid-tempo production, upstart Sam R I delivers zig-zag narratives, bending corners and stanzas, offering up jewels like, "I'm Socrates / mixed with f------ Prodigy / chain rocka / old money, Jane Fonda."

Indeed, and his nuanced metaphors pair well alongside Trust One's beats, a boom-bap synesthesia, where violet samples add color to percussion and a richness to the vocals.

There are references to weed and big money, the usual rap staples, but he also throws in regional touchstones -- "been Dago before Drew Brees" -- certifying his hometown roots -- prior to citing another former Charger quarterback and rhyming "handouts" with "Dan Fouts."

In terms of demeanor, Sam is laid back via surefooted pacing, but his approach isn't limited to a single style, as he shifts gears on "Coroner," speeding up the hook and chopping his way through open hi-hats while weaving around casual grooves.

To call it effortless works as a descriptive -- seamless does too. And by employing a less-is-more strategy -- the entire running time sits just under 12 minutes -- the duo doesn't overstay its welcome.

Offering up a well-designed effort that holds true to its regal namesake, "Purple Cashmere" is a luxurious EP -- and one that deserves every bit of its plush, high-end billing.

J. Smith, aka 1019, is a San Diego native, rap fan and one half of the rap duo Parker & the Numberman. You can follow him on Instagram at 1019_the_numberman or on Twitter

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