Appearing in December 2015 courtesy of Radio Juicy, Palmas was the first vinyl and last musical release from Philadelphia skateboarder Jamal Smith aka Poptartpete, who put down the drum machine to focus solely on his skating career after dropping this gem. While his earlier beat tapes - Weed Money, Morning Blunt, and 8 Cavities - all ran at approximately 20 minutes, Palmas compiles all his work to date into a robust 41-minute magnum opus.
Superb instrumental sampling, warm pad melodies, and head-bopping drums define Poptartpete's sound. The same could be said of many beatsmiths, but beyond the guitars, horns, woodwinds, and percussion, many of his samples sound like they're cut from old film, television, and archetypal 1970s R&B, rendering the tunes with an authentic throwback vibe. The whole tape is magnificent, but we do have some standout tracks to highlight. "Ithaca" opens with a bright, aqueous melody that conjures images of upstate New York gorge-dwelling in early autumn. "Jumba Jawn," a shout out to the Philadelphia native's stomping grounds, ups the energy early with its strutting saxophone sample. "Hard Times", the longest tune on the tape, delivers emotional impact with a prodding blues guitar sample and layers of humming female vocals. "Water Underneath" has a fuzzy shuffling hi-hat which driving the drums, water running underneath, and a brilliant flute sample to lead.
We hope one day Jamal picks up the gear again. If that never happens, he undoubtedly left the beat scene on a high note with Palmas. You can obtain a reasonably-priced download on Bandcamp, and a few copies on wax of this sublime release may still be available on vinyl database/marketplace discogs.