Gotta Be Karim

Bean Pie EP
(Cobblestone Rock Music)

Karim Hameed used to perform with Soul Tyde, and his love for old-school samples and smooth soul textures is made plain on "When You See Me." The track, which kicks off Gotta Be Karim's five-song Bean Pie EP, operates off of a stuttering, minor-key electric piano loop and sharp snare hits, and it lets the emcee plant his feet and say his peace. And, like all great crate-diggers, Karim waits until the song's end to pull back the curtain on the sample's source: bossa nova take on the Bacharach/David classic "Walk On By." "Counterfeit Version" keeps the vibe smooth with a backing track that sounds like a lost Quiet Storm jam, but Karim's easygoing flow is never so relaxed that it removes the tension from the track. Locals Black Spade, Vandalyzm and Coultrain drop in on the EP, which culminates with the harder-hitting "Swagger Back." Instead of horns and soft-touch keyboards, "Swagger Back" is built off of buzzy, bass-heavy synths and a Greek chorus of shouts and hollers. Coming at the end of such a brief program, it's hard to tell if Gotta Be Karim is trying to separate himself from his more soulful tracks or if his is merely making a concession to the sounds of modern hip-hop. Either way, it will be worth keeping an eye on the young emcee to find out.

7 p.m. Friday, May 9. Vintage Vinyl, 6610 Delmar Boulevard, University City. Free. 314-721-4096.

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