Santa Monica, CA .On December 10, Hidden Beach Recordings will release Unwrapped Vol. 2, the highly anticipated follow-up CD to last year’s breakthrough "Vol. 1" and the company’s next installment of jazzy interpretations of Hip Hop classics. Building on where the first edition left off, Vol. 2 again features today’s top instrumentalists offering inspired takes on some of the rap world’s hottest songs such as Nelly’s "Hot in Herre," Ja Rule/Ashanti’s "Always On Time," Ludacris’ "Roll Out," Erick Sermon/Marvin Gaye’s "Music," A Tribe Called Quest’s "Electric Relaxation" and many more.
The 12-song set, officially titled Hidden Beach Recordings Presents: Unwrapped Vol.2, showcases a "Dream Team" of the industry’s most talented musicians including keyboardists Patrice Rushen and Jeff Lorber, bassist Andrew Gouche, guitarist Craig T. Cooper, violinist Karen Briggs, and Hidden Beach’s own saxophonist Mike Phillips, among many others.
While priced as a single CD, Unwrapped Vol. 2 features special packaging that includes a 20-page book of rare production highlights as well as a bonus CD complete with additional music and an animated video for the song "You Got Me" off the Vol.1 disc.
"As soon as we completed Vol.1, we knew right away we could take this project to another level," says Hidden Beach Founder/CEO Steve McKeever. "Vol. 2 enhances the best elements of the first CD, offering funkier solos, more adventurous interplay between the musicians, and an edgier approach overall. The constant is that both volumes possess the ingredients to appeal to a broad audience of music lovers, be they Hip Hop or jazz fans."
Noted music men Tony Joseph and Darryl Ross, producers of Vol. 1 and the duo responsible for first bringing the concept to McKeever, returned to the studio to produce Unwrapped Vol. 2. "Basically, we tightened up the formula," says Joseph. " The musicianship is much better, as well as the overall sound. We wanted something that both the parents and the kids could listen to, and I think we really hit it on this one."
Also featured on Unwrapped Vol. 2 are such tunes as Coolio’s "Gangsta’s Paradise," Jr. Mafia’s "Get Money," Jay-Z’s "Girls, Girls, Girls," Mystikal’s "Bouncin’ Back," Punisher/Joe’s "Still Not A Playa," Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s "Summertime" and a slammin’ medley of Hip Hop hits.
Other musicians on the project include Louis Van Taylor (flute); Melena (percussions); Dennis Nelson and Terrence Thomas (guitar); Lou Taylor, Paul Litteral and Steve Baxter (horns); as well as two of Hidden Beach’s most recent signings, trombonist Jeff Bradshaw and guitar man Peter Black.
Providing background vocals are Tamika Peoples, Indeya, Syieta, Roz, Mack Digga, Mirinus Bey and "Pretty" Terry Stanton, as well as a special cameo performance by Charles "Golden Throat" Whitfield and Mike "Note Crusher" Parker.
On October 2, 2001, shunning the advice of industry skeptics who doubted the project’s potential, Hidden Beach released Unwrapped Vol. 1 to both fan and critical acclaim. That same day, Hidden Beach’s saxman Mike Phillips appeared live in-studio on Atlanta’s V-103 radio station with morning jock Deejay Frank Ski and played along with a few cuts from the disc. The response was overwhelming. Energized by Phillips’ appearance, Vol.1 quickly became the best-selling CD in the City, out-pacing such heavyweights as Ja Rule in its first week and causing lines to form for blocks outside retail outlets.
The word-of-mouth buzz grew from there. Vol.1 grabbed and held the top spot on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz grid, while also securing the number two position on the magazine’s overall Jazz Chart, and simultaneously reaching Billboard’s Top 200 and R&B Grids. All of this was accomplished without the benefit of such standard marketing tools as radio airplay, live performances, or a music video. Moreover, the initial release targeted only a few key markets and was further hampered by a limited supply of available product.
The success of Unwrapped Vol. 1, however, is best measured by the thousands of bootleg copies that appeared on street corners across the nation, as well as the flurry of copycat productions that popped up following the CD’s release. What was initially considered an unlikely marriage quickly became a must-have for real music lovers everywhere.
Unwrapped Vol. 2, armed with heightened energy and creativity, is poised to take it to the next level.
Founded by music veteran Steve McKeever, Hidden Beach Recordings is an independent record label based in Santa Monica, CA. Along with introducing music sensation Jill Scott and saxophonist Mike Phillips, Hidden Beach is also home to vocalist Darius Rucker, singer/songwriter Brenda Russell, husband and wife-led group Kindred the Family Soul, trombonist Jeff Bradshaw, guitarist Peter Black, and newcomer Diddamo, among others.
Epic Records Group, a division of Sony Music, serves as Hidden Beach’s worldwide distributor and marketing partner.