Kambiz- “Shookolaat”

Caltex Records
2004 (1383)

Being a celebrity-child (the son of the POP-icon Googoosh and the pre-rev. NIGHTCLUB-owner M. Ghorbani) Kambiz Ghorbani grew up a semi-public life and has himself never really been too shy to reveal about his private life in the exile media (several JAVANAN-interviews). Kambiz’ artistic career started back in the late 80’s, after the arrival to US from Europe. Mostly covering that particular time’s FRENCH DISCO songs and performing his and the legendary composer Erik’s homage to his mother (since I’m not sure about the official title of the song, I choose to refer to it as) “Yaadegar”. Followed up by a HUGE and professionally choreographed concert in LA. But despite the POP-start, Kambiz soon turned into the RAPPER that he is today, with the guest appearance on Shahrum Kashani’s sophomore album “Atash” (still today I receive questions about the brotherhood of these two artists)! Kambiz has during the past 13 years guest-rapped on several other albums, (such as Leila Forouhar‘s “Tasvir“ and Baharak‘s “Faryaad”) and is “de facto” one of the FIRST Iranian rappers to perform in the current PERSIAN RAP-style and tradition! However, despite these guest-appearances and a TV-hosting career, Kambiz’ career as a recording artist just didn’t seem to take off! Not before the arrival of his mother to Canada in 2000, that was when the wheels started to come in motion. Kambiz’ debut album came into process under the initial working title “Aghrab”, but was finally released as “Shookolaat” with 6 tracks on Caltex Records, the label currently accommodating his mother! The collaborating artists are Paksima, Andy G., Mehrdad Asemani, Mohammad Sattari and Shahbal Shabpareh.

The album kicks off with ”PARTY”, a fare with a hook inspired by BONEY M’s legendary ”Ma Baker” (or ”Italia, Italia” if you wish!*LOL*). It should be mentioned that this has been already done in the Arabian ”SIDI MANSOUR”, with its different Arabic/Turkish versions available! Kambiz’ song, however, is a light-hearted PARTY GEM about the friends’ NIGHT OUT! Those with the keen-ears for details might recognise the female vocalist in the background! …can it be Sharareh?!

Now to THE HIT of the album and its obvious title track! ”Shookolat” is the ONLY song on the album that is NOT A HIP-HOP song! And naturally, it features no RAP either! This is a CATCHY OLD-SCHOOL fare with the nostalgic vibe! The 80’s…aaah the good old 80’s!! Kambiz has always reminded me of Will Smith, and watching the video of this song the only thing crossing my mind was: …FRESH PRINCE!!! I have met people who have actually taken Kambiz’ act in this particular video too seriously!! Having missed the man’s self-distance and nostalgic sense of humour (I know, I know…I’m still stuck in the 80’s!!*LOL*)! Hilarious or ludicrous …the video is nothing but PURE ENTERTAINMENT! And the song, a great answer to those with racial prejudices!! You have no idea what you are missing!! Chocolaaaaaaaaaate! …Yummy!!

”Kaboos” is a FUNKY song a la Shahbal Shabpareh with a HIP-HOP NOIR sound and a socio-critical theme about the NIGHT-LIFE! Could actually bee regarded as the ”DARK-side” of the first track! Listen to the man’s solutions AND also resolution! By the way, Is that Shahrum Kashani who pays his due by guest-appearing at the hook?!

Next comes the LATIN POP inspired ”Parse”, with Enrique’s ”Love to See You Cry” jargon! Another HIP-HOP NOIR tune with natural continuation on the previous song’s theme! About the life in the real world, a Persian ”(Walk on the) Wild Side” , if you wish! A creative and clever lyrical spine, I must say! In general, the album enjoys a rather successful Persianisation of the lyrical aspect of HIP-HOP!

The old BROADWAY jingle sets up the fifth song of the album! ”Soujeh” is well-produced, but thematically a rather ambiguous track!

The album ends with the first released track! ”Time” is as the title indicates a bilingual track with a GREAT R&B twist! It’s truly a pity that the this sound is so severely underrepresented on this album!

From a commercial standpoint, the change of title was a smart move! Because a transition from “Aghrab” too “Shookolaat” also means a transition from HIP-HOP NOIR’s dark/serious sound (less commercially appealing) to a more light-hearted and humorous (commercially appealing) one. And the time will eventually prove (if it hasn’t already), that “Party” and “Shookolaat” are the commercial magnets of this album. These would not have happened if Kambiz had gone on and implemented the serious sound throughout the entire album! However, this transition may have saved the album from becoming a total commercial flop on a market not-yet-ready for pure HIP-HOP (let alone its NOIR-sound), but was at the same time certainly not extensive enough to ensure its success. There are simply TOO FEW tracks on the album and only TWO of them are MAINSTREAM ENOUGH to stand alone as singles! Kambiz could have easily thrown in a bunch of duets with his mother (just like Mehrdad did) in order to ensure a top position on the sales-chart!! BUT HE DIDN’T!! and I personally salute him for that wise and brave decision! I wished that Kambiz had somehow continued to elaborate on the R&B sound. By having suitable guest vocalists doing the hooks (even in Persian), he could have created the FIRST Persian HIP HOP/R&B collection EVER! but since he obviously has a passion for HIP-HOP, and RAP in particular his options are basically narrowed down to THREE: to make the transition to the CATCHY light-hearted HIP-HOP sound complete and become a “commercially successful” Iranian WILL SMITH, or to build further upon the serious sound and a commercially risqué attempt to become an Iranian JAY-Z! …OR!! To combine the two, and become a full-fledged Iranian EMINEM!!


Review by: Pourya E.

Reviews described herein are mere opinions, and must be construed in that manner only! In other words they are not absolute!