The New York rap producer has been making music for a long time. He’s collaborated with people like GZA, DOOM, and Yasiin Bey, and he’s also served as Bey’s tour DJ. In 2015, he teamed up with the mercurial Brooklyn rap great Ka to release the album Days With Dr. Yen Lo. Today, Preservation releases an album of his own, and it features pretty much every thoughtful, insular underground rapper that you might hope to name.
Preservation’s new album Eastern Medicine, Western Illness is a sort of exercise. Preservation lived in Hong Kong for three years, and he made the album entirely from samples of Chinese records that he found in HK record stores. As a producer, Preservation is a spacey boom-bap specialist in the Roc Marciano mode. But he lets the soft grace of those samples shine through on the album, and it gives the album a whole different texture.
But if you’re going to listen to Eastern Medicine, Western Wisdom, it’s probably going to be because of the absolutely staggering array of rappers that appears on it. The LP features contributions from Ka, Roc Marciano, billy woods, Quelle Chris, Navy Blue, Your Old Droog, Mach-Hommy, Nickelus F, and Tree, among others. All of them bring their A-games. You will not hear a better cross-section of hardnosed rap poets anytime soon. A few Hong Kong musicians show up, too. The album is a remarkable piece of work, and you can stream it below.
Eastern Medicine, Western Illness is out now on Nature Sounds.