Various Artists, 2 Future 4 U

Michaelangelo Matos

By Michaelangelo Matos

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
An unlikely bridge between hip-hop and house.

For years, Boston-reared DJ-producer Armand Van Helden aimed to bridge hip-hop and house music without losing the distinctive qualities of each, but there was a catch: His roughhouse leanings were never as convincing as his velvet-lined ones. But throughout the late '90s, AVH had an ear the equal of anyone for snippets that, when looped, would work up the kind of tension that just built and built without exhausting itself. On his masterpiece, 1999's 2 Future 4 U, he demonstrates this constantly: The snarling, giddy-up bass wallop of "The Boogie Monster," the fluorescent-lit string-section sample of "U Don't Know Me" (sung by male diva Duane Harden) and the astounding "Flowerz," nearly ten minutes of blissed-out psychodrama that hit the ear the way a Popsicle dissolves on your tongue.