September 4 brought 11ROOTS, the collab tape by the Brooklyn-based duo bearing the same name. They are comprised of rapper Ur Maa, and producer BROWN_BUDDHA. Their debut album is the only tangible evidence one needs to reach the following verdict: the underground New York Hip-Hop scene is as active and wonderful as ever. However, 11ROOTS is only the tip of the iceberg, but definitely one we wouldn’t mind slamming into face-first.
Performing as 11roots, Maa and Buddha were bound to link up, we’re just blessed to witness. The idea for a collaboration arose in November 2019, realizing they share “spiritual practices, upbringing, and passion for music.” The two stated the name “11roots” is derived the 11 Laws of Maat and 11 deities on the Tree of Life.
If there is one word to describe 11ROOTS in its entirety, it is “potential.” The album is made up of nine songs and runs for just over 13-minutes. “it was all made up” is the longest track, clocking-in at two minutes and nine seconds. It is also the only song to be graced with effortless bars from producer, BROWN_BUDDHA. According to him, the album was in the works since March. “Well the earliest that I can remember giving Ur beats for a collaborative project might have been March, so it took us most of the year if not the whole year.”
So why such a short project? Based on insight from the duo, one can presume 11ROOTS is meant to be synoptic. Maa and BUDDHA both mention that the album was inspired and conceived through the times they have spent together over the course of this year. “It was just the times that Ur and I had over the year just chilling in the attic, bumping beats, rapping random vocabulary cards, debating various topics, and talking about life,” BUDDHA claims was the spark for their first collab. The album serves as a primary resource into the lives of the two creatives, and a marker of where each stand artistically. If you are looking for music tuned for commercialism and filled with random obscenities, try the radio.
In short, 11ROOTS was made for our consumption, but not our enjoyment. Don’t take that the wrong way. Maa and BUDDHA deliver in their own regard, but this was only a sample. You wouldn’t expect to be full from samples at a supermaket, would you? I didn’t think so. Unfortuately, you’re going to have to keep replaying their first take, because there’s not much on the way. “I’m gonna take my time before I put out something else for BUDDHA, but theres gonna be a couple more raps coming from Z3NNSWRD,” BUDDHA says. With that, he salvages any hopes for more of his classic soul-inspired beats.
Despite being a short bump, 11ROOTS is here to stay, and I still think it is worth the listen. If anything, that much talent compressed into 13 minutes shouldn’t be an issue for the generation that alowed Vine to become popular. Give them a try, and be sure to let us know in the comments what you thought of the album.