Though hip-hop in 2018 is a vast, hype-fed body of work that may seem infinite and intimidating, jazz-rap, needless to say, no longer holds the same popularity and relevance of its heyday in the early ‘90s. Luckily, Summers Sons, a perpetually-baked, London-based emcee/DJ duo of birth brothers Turt (emcee) and Slim (producer), now bring us Uhuru, a slick collection of soft, lounge-jazz rap inspired by a recent trip to Tanzania.

Their self-released, self-titled 2015 debut, Summer Sons, was vague, channeling jazzy backdrops for influence but still rather sophomoric and indecisive. Uhuru builds on Summer Sons while finding its footing in (on?) something concrete. Jazz is no longer a backdrop, but an overall theme; its patient, lethargic manner more well defined than the majority of jazz-influenced hip-hop that remains today.

The instrumentals that support the bulk of Uhuru are heavily dependent on jazzy guitar scrams, a style heavily adapted from — and eternally indebted to — cult-favorite jazz guitarist Jack Wilkins, particularly his 1973 opus Windows. One of Windows’ most well-known songs, 'Red Clay,' a rendition of the Freddie Hubbard original, was made famous by A Tribe Called Quest when they sampled it on 'Sucka Nigga.' That marked the era in which hip-hop heads and purists would bond over jazz, rather than funk and soul, two latter genres that took up the bulk of early hip-hop. The piano arrangements are courtesy of C. Tappin, and Tappin’s contributions, which are heavily indebted to these jazz tastemakers, are some of Uhuru’s most vital moments.

By comparison, Uhuru often finds itself sounding carefree and breezy, rhyme schemes stacked atop one another, steady flows that act like cruise control. This can serve as a good thing for any iteration of jazz-rap, but there is no moment on Uhuru that jumps out, the record is content with cohesion. The tracks flow as one singular musical unit, calm, fluid raps delivered at an unconcerned pace. This breeziness is quickly established as Summers Sons’ main technique, and its heard in both Turt’s grime-influenced flow and Slim’s slackish rhythms. On the sample-heavy 'Good Times,' Slim’s boom bap beats pair neatly with Turt’s shy voice, turned inward to something bleak: “I’m poor but its material / Pouring water in my cereal.”

The album's most blunted moment appears on 'Shades of Green,' in which Turt continues his weed-obsessed raps, contrasted by Tappin’s vocal contributions — his voice is shaky, but there’s a certain rawness, a unique vulnerability in his voice which brings you back, craving more. Though Uhuru is indeed a fluid collection of half-blunted jazz rap, there’s no conceptual fluidity; each song sounds more or less the same, with a different approach to rapping about weed, and making life worth living in a continuous cycle of poverty (and weed). Which isn't to take away from what Summers Sons have created, as this was clearly the goal all along. Uhuru isn’t exactly a groundbreaking piece of music, but if you’re looking to smoke up and put your mind at ease, it most definitely has a place for you. And that’s a good thing.