Friday, December 29, 2006

School Was My Hustle ( Nawledge and Double O are Kidz in the Hall)

“Hello everyone, my name is H.I.E.C., and I have a listening problem…”. As long as I can remember I have had an identity crisis when it comes to hip-hop. Everything about my profile says backpacker, but my eardrums beg for the beats of the streets. I suspect that if Freud was still around, and dug hip-hop, he would have some convoluted theory for this psychological schism.

I suspect Nawledge and Double O, would be able to relate to my – dilemma. The ‘Kidz’ profile says backpacker, but within their mild-manner-solidly-middle-class façade lurks the beast of the streets – these Kidz are hungry. It’s easy to dismiss them as tourist within hip-hop, given their Ivy League pedigree (University of Penn). It’s easy to assume they aren’t rugged for the game, given the backpacker following they will build fairly quickly. It’s easy to downplay Nawledge’s lyricism because he lacks the patois of the latest mixtape. It’s easy to wax poetic on why Double O’s productions won’t ever warrant platinum status, because the beats are too ‘clean’.

I suspect the Kidz will go platinum one day because of the backpacker following, Nawledge will become the most slept on MC since Black Thought, and they will last longer and hang tougher than most of the d-boys on the grind.

Definitely, checkout the Kidz' Hustle…in ’07.

Jay Dee – Donuts (J.Dilla). Donuts is the first of two discs dropped by J. Dilla in ’06, and the last one he authorized. Of the bat, I should disclose that I am not a fan of the posthumously released product of the hip-hop artist – insert favorite artist’s name here. However, I may need to make an exception for Mr. Dilla. Donuts is simply…bananas. If you like beats there’s nothing to dislike about this disc. If you like hip-hop there’s nothing to dislike about this disc.


Game Theory (The Roots) I have been a long time listener and Roots Crew devotee – Organix anyone. This is not to say that I am ‘blinded’ to the less than stellar product put out by the crew – Phrenology anyone. The Roots have managed something that seems to escape most of mainstream hip-hop: a cohesive group, consisting of multiple MCs, with the work ethic of a jazz outfit. While groups/crews breakup -The Roots bring it. While solo artist continue to believe a show consist of them rolling out of bed onto the stage – The Roots bring it. While I thought they had fallen off with Phrenology, The Roots prove with Game Theory they can still bring it.

It’s so hard to believe they’ve only blinged out, gone platinum, once – with the seminal Things Fall Apart. Here’s hoping they end up with some precious metal for ’07.

What follows are a few compilations that are worth searching through the bargain crates for, looking for at your local summer stoop sale, or simply worth begging your friends for:

Blues Masters Volume II: Classic Blues Women (category: Blues)
Ultra.Chilled 01 (category: Chillout/Downtempo)
The Last Time I Committed Suicide Soundtrack (category: American Jazz)
Termanology presents Hood Politics IV: Show & Prove (category: Mixtape)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Re: Time’s Up (Gregory L. Jackson, pp. 72-78)

Dear The Source:

I recently read your October 2006 (no. 203) issue. To paraphrase the popular hip-hop edict, “stop snitchin’, stop lyin’” some one should tell Lloyd Banks as well as his hip-hop bretheren – “stop bitchin’, stop lyin’. I take sincere umbrage to artists’ assertion that downloading is the ‘kryptonite’ to their ‘superman’ persona.

I love hip-hop, despite its chauvinistic attitude and peter pan syndrome. My first hip-hop tape was a bootleg N.W.A. (Straight Outta Compton) tape, which lasted longer than half of the tapes I bought from The Wall or Sam Goody. I have purchased some great tapes/CDs along this journey, as well as some not so great stuff. I have upgraded some tapes to CDs (NWA. 2Pac, etc.), and since 1999 I have downloaded some mediocre stuff. It started simply enough with trying to get copies of singles from some of my favorite tapes, which I felt didn’t warrant a full ‘repurchase’. As hip-hop drifted to a ‘single’ driven marketing scheme, I drifted more to downloading.

Here’s a simple concept for artist – make a lyrically cohesive album coupled with a sonically astute and smart production – and I (as well as other downloaders) will be apt to buy it. You will be able to remember this by the following shorthand – ‘concept album’. Dre did with Chronic, Nas did it with Illmatic, N.W.A. did it with Straight Outta Compton. To be honest downloading offers somethings that you just aren’t going to find in your local store, such as DangerMouse’s seminal Grey Album. And truth be told if it ever was ‘reissued’ as an album, I’d cop it.

Here is some food for thought Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy was the ‘must’ have download this summer yet they still went RIAA certified platinum. I actually purchased Lloyd’s first album, it was okay at best, if I lose the CD I ain’t mourning over it. If this album is more of the same, he’ll be lucky if he goes gold. Lloyd should step his game up, should man up and bring it, show and prove and any other any other oft used cliché.

search box