Out 23rd February, “California Love feat. Cory Henry (Edit)” / “The Edge feat. Quantic (Swarvy Remix)” is the third single from multi-instrumentalist Sly5thAve’s ‘The Invisible Man: An Orchestral Tribute To Dr. Dre’ LP. In this next installment, a rework of Dre’s notorious “California Love” is paired with a new remix of “The Edge feat. Quantic” by L.A. producer Swarvy.
Notably the most impressive project of composer and arranger Sly5thAve aka Sylvester Onyejiaka to date, ‘The Invisible Man’ album was first devised as a benefit concert at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in L.A. which was attended by Dr. Dre who took to the stage to thank Sly5thAve’s arrangements. Sly5thAve went on to refine twenty-three large-ensemble arrangements from the show on this recording which have been met with glowing praise, procuring support from Radio FIP (Selection FIP), radio play from KCRW, Nemone, Craig Charles (BBC 6Music), Jazz FMplaylisting, alongside online and print reviews from The Arts Desk, Okayplayer, Earmilk and The Scottish Express.
Combining the character of the original with the G Funk sound that dominates the West Coast hip hop scene, Sly5thAve’s arrangement of “California Love (Edit)” unites the realms of orchestral and hip hop music in this welcome outing. He explains: “One of my favorite things about arranging hip-hop/pop music for an orchestra is the opportunity to build up and take the composition through different worlds that are not completely unrelated but also not readily apparent.” Under his direction, the undeniably smooth arrangements amplify the lessons in Dre’s music which are held at their core.
As well as the legacy of his music, Dr. Dre’s visuals left a lasting impression on Sly5thAve, he explains: “When I first heard “California Love” I was in my living room in Austin, TX. As a kid, I remember seeing Tupac and Dre on MTV driving through the desert in this crazy post-apocalyptic-Mad-Max music video and thinking they were gods.” Determined to honour Tupac’s legacy, Sly5thAve invites the Grammy award-winning keyboardist Cory Henry to the track; who delivers the volatile energy eulogised in Tupac’s original feature.
Hailing from Philadelphia, the L.A.-based producer Swarvy’s [Paxico] remix of “The Edge feat. Quantic” keeps things smooth and minimal. Adding synth ornaments and heavier effects on the beats to complement the already cosmic and beautiful arrangement, Swarvy creates the perfect track to drive through L.A. to. Reminiscing about when he first heard the original, he explains: “I was in my early teens. My homie was bumpin the whole 2001 record driving around Delaware”.
Born in Austin, Texas, Sly5thAve aka Sylvester Onyejiaka, grew up listening to the contrasting sounds of West African music, soul and jazz. He carried these diverse influences throughout his formal training at the University of North Texas, and into his work with sought-after songwriter and mentor, Philip Lassiter and as a session musician in Prince’s New Power Generation band for two years. Leading up to his signage with Tru Thoughts in 2016, Sly5thAve released his first solo album ‘Akuma’ and founded the ClubCassa Chamber Orchestra, arranging orchestral covers of Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna and Drake, before dropping the ‘Vein Melter’LP with Jesse Fischer in 2015, his ‘Composite’ EP of orchestral covers and the “Early Morning” single which featured Will “Quantic” Holland on guitar on Tru Thoughts last year.
Sly5thAve’s limitless creativity has so far been met with support from tastemakers such as Lauren Laverne (BBC 6Music), Don Letts (BBC 6Music), Huey Morgan (BBC 6Music), Gilles Peterson (BBC 6Music) and Jarobi White (A Tribe Called Quest), to Noisey, NPR, The Fader, Jazz Times, Indie Shuffle and Earmilk. Carving a name for himself through his former projects, Sly5thave has also worked as an in demand collaborator and session musician with Prince, Stevie Wonder, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Janelle Monáe and Quantic.