‘Westside Story’ by Dela

As the snow settles in across most of the known world and we steep ourselves in some holiday flavor, I want to share a track that sounds like the sunshine most of us will see at 35,000 feet. Dela, a Montreal based producer and instrumentalist, put out his proto-hip-hop record Translation Lost this year. The record is exemplary of the sound of hip hop in 2011 (a snappy MPC, a laptop, and a bunch of hot samples) and has frequent cameos from the great Los Angeles MC Blu. Dela has called Translation Lost a record of love stories gone wrong, of transition and change.

But this track is the happy, upbeat, blissful part of the story. Westside Story seems to draw from the current resurgence in the electro funk of the 1980s. The original sample, Zapp’s Heartbreaker, is a bonafide boogie-funk classic. This gem from 1983 has been sampled endlessly (you’ll hear snippets of it on tracks by anyone from Dr. Dre to J. Dilla) and Dela does a great twist dropping bombastic drum beat under the key-tar flavored synths.

While I was crossing over the heartland this track got skipped on and I had no choice but to open the shade on the window, smile, stare at the clouds below. It’s great to enjoy the tranquility that can only be found in transition. That being said, this track is just one part of a great record, which you can find here.


November 23, 2011 / By