Cohenbeats: Daily Affirmations

- With the world in the miserable state that it's currently in, you'd be easily forgiven if you've missed the slow and almost whisper quiet rise of Israeli born, part-time L.A. based beat-maker Cohenbeats. Emerging as both emcee and producer at seventeen in the overlooked hip-hop scene of his home town of Tel Aviv, Michael Cohen marks one of the few people that quite literally harnessed the power of an energy drink to get ahead in life; his success partly fuelled by the strangely legitimate Red Bull Music Academy which eventually lead to his relatively brief relocation to the United States.

Once on American soil Cohen shifted his focus primarily to production and away from the mic; his subsequent releases leaning towards various and varied collaborations and solo, scattershot, beat-tapes. After a few years of subtle toiling and noticeable improvement in his chosen craft, Cohen has made the move back to Israel and latest release, Daily Affirmations, marks a major milestone in his musical career: his first full-length on fabled hip-hop label Stones Throw.

For hip-hop heads, Stones Throw has always been a shining beacon of quality and consistency; it's not a label that puts out records willy-nilly and anything the label releases is almost always worth your precious time; Cohenbeats' Daily Affirmations most definitely continues the labels history of excellence. For quick reference the music of Cohenbeats is not overly dissimilar to legendary label-mate Madlib. Both producers creating compelling, patchwork tapestries of beats that fuse world music and classic, West Coast hip-hop, usually forgoing their own voice in favour of deftly deploying a select number of unique emcees that only strengthen  the musical foundation already laid down.

Daily Affirmations doesn't only mark Cohen's first major release, it stamps the producer's passport as his ultimate breakthrough into the collective music consciousness. On paper the record is a collection of stylistically diverse, ninety-second, Israeli-inspired hip hop beats interjected with a handful of more fully fledged movements that feature a variety of underground rappers, helping anchor the record and almost acting like musical signposts, each leaving a distinct mark and voice on an instrumentally heavy affair.

Standout and title track Daily Affirmations with Detroit emcee Quelle Chris features the actual affirmation "I'm good enough / I'm smart enough / And god dammit, people like me", which is something more downtrodden humans should quietly chant as they potter through their daily lives. On this record Cohenbeats has practiced what most purely preach; he is good enough, he is smart enough, and there's no denying I like him: I can't see why you wouldn't too. Daily Affirmations is the actual musical manifestation of positive thinking and here's hoping Michael Cohen never stops believing in himself.

- Jay Edwards.

Album Details

Album Title: Daily Affirmations
Artist: Cohenbeats
Record Label: (Stones Throw / Inertia)