What’s happening in the world of hip hop? No really, what is happening in the world of hip hop? I guess I’ve gotten to where all I really care about anymore is the music and not much of anything else. I’m not following all the “going ons” as much as I used to and I really don’t even care as much anymore I guess. Which leads me to my own personal experiences that have gone down lately. A couple weeks ago, I was able to check out De La Soul live. Although it was my second time seeing them in concert, the first time was early in ’96, before they dropped the landmark album, Stakes Is High. Five albums later, it was almost like a new group. The first time I saw them, I wasn’t the biggest De La fan. I didn’t like 3 Feet High and Rising (I know, that’s almost sacrilegious) and while there some songs I liked off of De La Soul Is Dead and Buhloone Mindstate, I never bought either one. It was something about that night, seeing them live, that turned me into the huge De La fan that I am today. Obviously I thought they put on a GREAT show some thirteen plus years ago, but what I saw a couple weeks ago was nothing short of incredible.
Thirteen years ago is a long time, more like a lifetime for all the shit I’ve gone through since then, but as far as live performers, they seemed to be light years ahead of what they were back then. They were per in sync, nailing down the songs as they went but they were still having fun. You could tell they genuinely enjoyed being with each other, they were laughing, joking and having a good time on stage. It was good to see and it also showed in their interaction with the crowd. They played most of the great hits, everything from stuff found on Grind Date to material from 3ft High (nothing from the somewhat disappointing Nike album). The price of admission would be in the form of “Rock Co. Kane Flow” performance. It was an incredible adrenaline starter as Pos would kick his verse, with strobe lights flashing and the already natural energy packed song just beat furiously. Then they would all freeze. No movement, nothing, but the lights would come on. Everyone was screaming and yelling, then it would happen all over again. This happened three times, and by that third time through, I could have ran through a brick wall and not felt a thing. This video doesn’t do it justice, I was truly worked up in such a frenzy by the third time around…
Always great to see a good show. In my old age, going to shows don’t always appeal to me. I guess I don’t like the crowds, or don’t want to be out past my bed time on a work night or some shit, none the less, if you get a chance to see De La, jump on it.
Five Must Hear Tracks…
Some of the more open minded hip hop listeners will probably recognize the name OK Cobra. If you were into underground indie hip hop mags in the late 90′s, you will remember “In Search of Divine Styler,” a quirky hip hop magazine that was from north of the border. You might remember Ryan Somers aka Fritz the Cat who was responsible for it’s conception. It’s Fritz The Cat and Recordface that make up the duo of OK Cobra. They dropped a self titled LP back in ’06 that was along the vein of some of the other more creative and genre bending hip hop being made out there. This particular track, “I Quit (I Give Up)”, I’ve had the pleasure of hearing it from very on in it’s exsistence for a project that may or may not see the light of day sometime this year. It hasn’t changed much from it’s original form, but I’m glad I can actually share this song now. It’s from the group’s new album, Delirium Tremens. Not too often will you here Edie Brickel sampled on a hip hop song, but it works well for a somber track that in some ways helps the healing process of a fucked up day. You will be seeing more of this duo in the very near future on WYDU.
When one thinks of Boise, Idaho, they probably think of potatoes and funky blue football fields. I doubt anyone thinks “hip hop”. A small percentage of hip hop heads might have heard of the group Mad Ro, who were about the only ones to make much noise outside of the local area and that could arguably be contributed to the fact that one of the members was former Alkaholik member J-Ro’s cousin was part of the group. During my trip to the De La show, a local opening act grabbed my attention. Going by the name of Eleven, I was digging his stage presence and the music I was hearing. After the show I made it a point to look up his myspace page and found a free album “Star Of The Story”. It’s a very solid effort and worth checking out. One of the songs I heard in his set was “Oh My God,” a very energetic, old school sounding track. It also showcases Eleven’s strong lyrical performance, as the dude just rides the bouncy beat kick for kick.
3. Buckshot & KRS-One – Murder 1
Coming from what could be the potential “surprise” album of the year, Buckshot and KRS both show that they still have it with their Survival Skills album. I wasn’t expecting a lot from this and while it’s not something I’ll be playing on a daily basis and will probably forget about in a couple months, it’s a good listen for the moment. The one track that really stuck out for me was t
he Bounty Killer assisted, “Murder 1″. I guess one thing I look for in albums such as this is music that sounds like it would have if it was made when each artist was at their prime. For me, “Murder 1″ is the song that most resembles that. Hard and gritty and all those other cliches throwin’ in, I had this on mad repeat the first time through it.
4. ST/MIC feat Arsun FIST – We Kings
I’ve seen the name floating around the net a few times, but for some reason I couldn’t tell you what he had done besides doing some work on my man Eric of WTR’s mixtape late last year. ST/MIC hit me up with a review copy of his very good “Honest Music” LP that should be dropping fairly soon. While there were several tracks that caught my attention (such as “Too Much”) it was “We Kings” that stuck. It’s mellow melody over slow but banging drums set it up for both MCs to do their thing.
5. Brother Ali – Crown Jewel
I’ve never been the biggest Brother Ali fan, mainly because of his voice. It was just irritating to me. He’s starting to change that though. The EP he released early this year got my attention, then his newest project, “Us,” has really got me bumping it. Of course some of that has to do with the flawless production from Ant, and “Crown Jewel” is a perfect example of that as Ant hooks up a great horn loop. Not to be outdone, Ali hooks up a perfect chorus for the ill horn lick and spits even tighter raps than he has in the past.