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"Rasul's Most Underrated Pt.II"

by Eric on May 15, 2007

King Sun-Righteous But Ruthless

King Sun might be one of those geniuses with an intemperate vein of self-destruction. Following his career through the years, one has to notice the poor decisions leading him somewhere between oblivion and obscurity and I sincerely feel sad for him. His debut “XL” left a minor-significant mark- very likable but not as decisive as his second offering “Righteous But Ruthless”. In 1994 he switched his style on us (and later his name that I do not wish to remember) with his little EP “Strictly Ghetto” where song-titles like “Humm Deez Nuts”, “BNS Sex” and “Suck No Dick” (hmm very insightful- and those were three songs out of seven on the EP!!!???) indicated a change of mind. Afterwards, the God went on a rampage-mission against Ice Cube, claiming the veteran had jacked an entire song off one of his demos and had turned it into his semi-hit-record “Wicked” (I actually believed him despite the obvious question, why would someone like him cut a demo?!). I think you can easily read between the lines and sense a wind of disappointment, sort of a good thing turned bad and I have every right to feel this way: I worshiped this album like no other. He hit me in the head with ten songs covering every desired aspect, leading you to a path of righteousness and street credible chronicles of hardship and pain. Listening to him felt very much like those conversations you have with a distant relative who would tell you stuff you usually don’t try to hear! The album-opener “Be Black” challenged the general intelligence of the masses claiming the majority’s slope towards social awareness was nothing but a fluke- a fad people has chosen to jump on. When he said “Now every body’s wearing the red black and green / Here’s the point: Do you know what it means?/ Red for the bloodshed, black for the people / Green for the land to be utilized equal / “Yo I’m from Africa!”, Boy you’re just a faker / Name one city – “Uhh, Jamaica!”, he meant every word with a vengeance. His affiliation- better yet dedication to the 5% nation Of Islam- was live and vivid on songs like “The Gods Are Taking Heads” (collaborating with label-mates PRT), “King Sun With The Sword” and “Universal Flag” (if you’ve ever been interested in the 5%-Teachings, this is the track to listen to). “Undercover Lover” was real in its content. “Cold New Yorkin’” using the infamous line of Rakim “It ain’t where you from, it’s where you at” felt well- planned and rarely accidental. This is a great album that got overlooked- one of those records that hardly get mentioned when you talk about classic material. And that’s the definition of slept-on…-Rasul

Boogiemonsters-Riders Of The Storm: The Underwater Album

The Underwater Album: 1994 is considered one of the most fruitful and enriching years in the history. The Wu-Tang Clan had officially redefined the industry’s standards and Nas delivered a milestone drawing comparisons to icons of the late 80s, along with Mr. D. O. Double G. raising hell on the left coast. You could literally smell the transformation Hip Hop was going through and the valuable quantity of good albums being released was increasing. At these days and times, the words slept-on or underrated would not distinguish the way Boogiemonsters’ “Riders Of The Storm” was decisively overlooked. These were some “college-dudes” who’ve had met at the Virginia State University and had decided the world definitely needs another AvantGarde musical journey, sounding somewhere between “The Pharcyde” on crystal meth (well, at times Pharcyde did sound like they were on crystal meth!?) and Sydney Poitier on “Guess Who’s Coming For Dinner”: You heard some dazed suburban kids voicing inscrutable anger and depression about a cruel world they hadn’t figured out yet, reflecting nuances of being lost and forgotten and on a hunt for fallen spirituality. The “New World Order” was a term I was familiar with but the Boogiemonsters were the first collective to dedicate four-minute-songs to its concept. They offered alternatives with their nerdy prophecies, questioning the fundamentals of our society (The devil sees the world as a girl from the back / Eying, sighing, dying to get a crack at the middle /). This is the reason nobody would check for them back then! I knew this girl back in my old days who would always hit me with the most obscure suggestions what songs and albums I should get and the “Riders Of The Storm” was one of them. I would listen to a couple of tracks (“Recognized Thresholds of Negative Stress”, “Mark of the Beast” and “Riders of the Storm”) only to grow tired of the whole vibe and throw the CD away. But this particular CD had a life of its own and every time I would look for such and such, I ended up putting this album back on in my stereo and I started to develop a certain appreciation for it. That’s when I fell in love with tracks like “Strange” and “Muzik” where they portrayed music as a woman before Common dropped “I Used To Love Her” couple of months later that year. Like I said, the subject matters could feel annoying at times and although the music turned out to be more than flawless, the overall feeling of this album stayed refreshing. Now that I think about it, this must be the crown-jewel for backpack extravaganzas with its spaced-out format! When the Boogiemonsters released their sophomore “God Sound” in 1997 (by then, the four-man crew had turned to only two MCs: Apparently, the other two guys couldn’t continue to live the high-life of a boogie monster because of their personal convictions and religious beliefs!?), the freshness was long lost and had drifted away and after re-listening to their first album, I understood the generic quality of it. More than anything, this album is timeless…-Rasul

Intelligent Hoodlum-Self Titled

Marley Marl is a mastermind, a brilliant wizard, a virtuoso by all means! I will give you more details on my upcoming post about the top ten producers of all time but for now, let’s just say the man changed the face of Hip Hop Music emphatically. He introduced various heavyweights like the Big Daddy Kanes, the Craig Gs, the Master Aces, the MC Shans and the Kool G Raps and dropped a compilation album in 1988 on the renown Cold Chillin’-Label called “In Control Volume 1″ (with the ultimate anthem “The Symphony”) to officially present his X-Men-Click the “Juice Crew” to our defunct universe. And then there were two tracks, “The Rebel” and “Live Motivator”, starring a boyish sounding kid called Percy / Tragedy… Now I am indeed very familiar with all the stories that have been told about the man before he became Khadafi: How a 13 year old Percy Chapman had to sleep on Marley’s stoop before the legend gave him a shot and actually started recording with him; how my man had to do 20 months on Rikers Island right after his debut on “In Control Volume 1″, an experience pushing him to his adolescent li

mits and forcing him to realize how he had to change his ways and what he successfully managed to emphasize on his debut album. But I will tell you a little different story: Back in 1993 when the hype about Nas releasing an album reached uncalled heights and the title of that album “Illmatic” was circulating our airwaves, I told everybody Mr. Jones is a biter! Yes Sir, your icon of now majestic realm, the Nasty Nas turned Escobar turned God’s Son, had taken the title of his debut-masterpiece off a rhyme Tragedy had delivered back in ’88 from a song called “The Rebel”: “The rap automatical, the rhymatical / Forget ill, I get illmatical / Biceps pulsating in my lungs / Queensbridge Projects is where I’m from” (later on, Nas told the world that Tragedy’s been one of his idols). It wasn’t really the “illmatical” phrase that’s been buried in my mind for years. It was the graphic line “Biceps pulsating in my lungs” (take a minute to think about the line, it’s stupid folks) that had me going berserk and therefore, I knew right away where Nas had found his “inspiration”. See, both of the songs Tragedy dropped back on “In Control” were overshadowing every house-hold name featured on that album. “The Motivator” used unseen vocabulary and excelled in every branch. But that didn’t seem to help him cause any fanfare when his debut “Intelligent Hoodlum” was released in 1990. For once, his label A&M Records chose to call him Intelligent Hoodlum too and not Tragedy (don’t ask me why!). Then, my man didn’t come out on Cold Chillin’ like everybody else from the “Juice Crew” (and what every fan would have had expected) and the whole project was left nearly unnoticed by the die-hard addicts. Still, the album was everything of a treasure if you ask me: Starting from the incredibly simple artwork (maybe I should drop a top ten list of best album-covers of all time!?), the mostly dark and gloomy production of Marley Marl that touched a realm of mysticism (and certainly something the man was not known for) and up to the impeccable lyrics delivered, this adventure felt unusual but very “right”. The first song (it was called Intelligent Hoodlum too and somebody from A&M should have felt a little weird) was magic (“I’m the Intelligent Hoodlum – reactor, I cause fear / Writing like Mark Twain, recite like Shakespeare”), “Back To Reality” ingenious, “Black and Proud” bold and “Microphone Check” playful! But the stand-out track had to be “Arrest the President” where he said: “Someone yelled out: Get the hell out / Evil fell out, but I’m no sell-out / Black’s the mineral, white subliminal / Arrest the President, he’s the criminal”. I could go on for days quoting lines form this album but I have to admit, I slept on this initially only to go back and listen to it again right after “In Control Volume 2″ came out in 1991. Still, this is a classic…-Rasul

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{ 1 comment }

vincentlopez May 16, 2007 at 10:50 am

The Boogiemonsters first album is an absolute classic! I’ve been telling people about since the day it dropped. If it wasn’t for that CD, I wouldn’t have made it through the last days of college and the beginning of my first real job (teacher) that summer. The music is pure stress relief!

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