Seafood Sam’s “Can’t Take the Hood to Heaven” Belongs In a Smokey, Underground West Coast Supper Club

Photo by Jack McKain
February 21 2024

PRAISE FOR Seafood Sam

“Combining organic, nostalgic beats with a future-facing flavor, Long Beach rapper Seafood Sam will bring to mind images of Chevy low riders, expertly skating at the roller rink, barbecues in the summertime… all of the good shit.”


“Smooth and unhurried cadences and understated lyricism…that sounds like nothing else in Long Beach.”


“One of the most promising new names in the genre...effortless charm and vivid lyricism.”


“When I listen to Seafood Sam, I hear the rugged wisdom of my older cousins and uncles...Hidden in his bars is the kind of game you can only get from a long-time player, but Seafood Sam doesn’t have time to break it down for everyone.”


Can’t Take the Hood to Heaven
Attack Of The Dreadlocks (ft. Rae Khalil)
Lynn’s Lullaby (Interlude)
Brownskin Cinnamon
Grey Seas (ft. Reaper Mook)
Cowboy Leather (ft. Pink Siifu)
Overseas Sam
Bullets From A Butterfly
Pearly Gates Playlist
Grandma Once Said
Lagonda (ft. Goya Gumbani)
The Card Players (ft. Jayellz)
When I Met Rose

Can’t Take the Hood to Heaven” is out now, buy/stream it here.

Standing On Giant Shoulders is out April 19, preorder it here.

Today, Long Beach rapper Seafood Sam shares “Can’t Take the Hood to Heaven,” a lushly orchestrated, soulful track form his forthcoming album Standing On Giant Shoulders, via drink sum wtr due out on April 19. Seafood Sam is already a local Long Beach County hero — known not only for “combining organic, nostalgic beats with a future-facing flavor” (GQ) but for throwing wild bowling nights, roller-skating with the utmost swagger, and treating his dog to the most OD at-home spa treatments possible — but Standing On Giant Shoulders heralds his ascent to an entirely new musical level. Listen to “Can’t Take the Hood to Heaven” HERE and preorder Standing on Giant Shoulders HERE.

The luxurious production is layered with harps, strings, and brass figures seemingly pulled straight from Philly soul classics, though performed organically in the studio according to arrangements cooked up by Sam alongside collaborator Tom Kendall. “Can’t Take the Hood to Heaven” is a reflective track, falling in line with Sam’s decision to talk about what’s most important in life, written with his son in mind.

Watch “Can’t Take the Hood to Heaven” here.

Of the new single, Sam says, “I’m trying to reach the souls of our neighborhoods, not just the ears.”

On Standing On Giant Shoulders, his full-length album debut for drink sum wtr, Seafood Sam unveils a forward-thinking sensibility rooted in ancestral soul. He’s a virtuosic rapper, a stop-you-in-your-tracks singer, and a symphonic producer. The giant shoulders in the album’s title refer to James Brown, Bobby Brown, and Miles Davis — the holy trinity who inspired Sam’s process. From the Godfather of Soul, Sam took a perfectionist’s rigor and focus. The example of Bobby Brown lent an unshakeable confidence and self-belief. While the constant artistic left turns of the trumpeter that birthed Cool offered an aspirational archetype.

He has the unique ability to conjure lucid scenes with an economy of language: Whether it’s a sun-dappled Sunday drive amid the palm trees of his hometown, a G-funk gospel choir where Warren G guests on an Isley Brothers tune, or a Blaxploitation protagonist decked out in vintage Pelle Pelle blithely eating an apple and plotting his next move, there’s an almost cinematic quality to his music — every track summons a fantasia of West Coast cool.

It’s the evidence of a master, a young sensei in the model of Quincy Jones. All rhymes, singing, production, and arrangements were handled by Sam – with an assist from Tom Kendall of the Long Beach group Soular System. It’s the rare modern hip-hop album that demands to be heard on vinyl, an arsenal of sample-free soul-funk without skips. It’s hard-edged and lyrical enough for disciples of Larry June and Roc Marciano, but orchestral and melodic enough for fans of Anderson .Paak and H.E.R.

In recording Standing On Giant Shoulders, Seafood Sam sought to elevate his game and deliver a record that not only stood the test of time but could provide an example for his son — a future classic that bridges the generational divide between his titanic musical idols and what’s coming up next. While such lofty ambitions can only be realized through time’s passage, there’s no denying that, in an era awash with retreads, Seafood Sam has staked his claim as a true original.

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