Review Summary: “Hram Vybez” by Prince Amine runs the stylistic gambit of R&B, hip-hop, pop, electronic, and it’s infused with a lot of interesting multicultural ethic music sounds.
You’re probably asking, what the heck “Hram Vybez” means" Frankly, I have no idea other than that it was chosen to be the album title on this record recorded by an eighteen year-old recording artist from Canada. Prince Amine, born in Morocco, raised in Spain and currently residing in Montreal has a way with words (his songs switch languages like a race driver switching lanes at the Indy 500) and a voice that’s easy on the ears. He’s one smooth operator when he’s behind the microphone and giving those vocal cords a workout. The seven songs on the mystically tagged “Hram Vybez” gives him plenty of opportunities to show off the skills he’s developed over the course of a relatively short lifetime.
“P.M.N. (Princess of My Nation) initiates the set list on “Hram Vybez”. I’d call it a laid back pop gavotte that doesn’t try to oversell itself. It was a good idea to use this one as a lead in because it allows him then to kick it up a notch or two not only on the next one, but as you get further and further into this record. Case in point is “Hold On”, which follows. This one cranks the metronome tempo up slightly and works in a bit of reggae counterpoint in the rhythm along the way. Very nice choices on the percussion instruments used as they allow Amine to let us hear he knows just how important dynamics are to a song by the staccato way he delivers all his lyrics here in the well under three minutes of length on this track.
By the time you get to “Por La Vida” he has you warmed up and ready to generate a little sweat on the dance floor. I don’t know if it was the words in Spanish he sings in this one, or the arpeggio chords picked out on the classical guitar in the background, but it put me in the mood for piña coladas and parties beneath a vanilla ice cream moon on some sandy beach. “Marokina” is where the lines get dished out in French. I must admit that this little trick that Prince Amine employs of mashing up the exotic languages is, well I’m just going to say it, sexy as hell. I’ll also admit that since he’s still only in his teen that I guess that makes me one of those dirty old ladies (yeah Mom, I guess you may have been right about me all those years, LOL)
“Newlywed” begins with an overused synthesizer sound patch that I’m so over (and I wish musicians were too). Here again this Prince lays the sexy vibe on heavy in order to rescue what could have been ruined by that aforementioned sonic cliché. How could any girl not get tingly hearing lines like “Late night in the bando/Got mamasita dancing tango/And she’s so sweet like a mango/But where he at" Where’d your man go"/Say I’m crazy over you girl/It’s you I wanna do girl/Around your neck you got some nice pearls/Tropical with your brown curls”. Kid, now you’re dotting the “i”s, crossing that “t”s and speaking our language!
The title track is saved for next to last. “Hram Vybez” has Amine pitching verses and choruses in mixed tongues yet again. This penultimate positioning of this cut sets up “Fuego”, the last tune on the “Hram Vybez” album, to bring us out on a slow burn. Previously released as an advance track earlier this year, “Fuego” has been getting some respectable attention from both mainstream and college radio stations across the U.S.A. As a collective work “Hram Vybez” runs the stylistic gambit of R&B, hip-hop, pop, electronic, and it’s infused with a lot of interesting multicultural ethic music sounds. I still may not know what “Hram Vybez” means, or always what you’re saying, but boy, I like the way you say it.