Tag Archives: the hip hop purist

Trayvon Case Calls for Outrage and Epiphany

"Do I look suspicious?"

“We ain’t the same color when police show up.” – MURS

Before I talk about Trayvon, let’s talk about stigma.

There was a girl in my high school who had a white mother and a black father.  She hung out with the cheerleader, varsity letterman crowd.  Apparently, she was very embarrassed every time her father came to school functions because she easily passed for white.

Not every case of colorism is as dramatic as “Imitation of Life.”  And not every case is American.  The massacres in Darfur were carried out by dark Arabs.  The Dalits in India are very dark.  Aborigines in Australia are treated like shit.  The list goes on and on.

And being a black person in a high school where the faculty supported David Duke, I had my own issues with color.  My teen years were spent mostly in Jefferson Parish, right outside of New Orleans.  I did not sound like the majority of the black population when I talked.  My classmates were mostly white people.  I was an outcast any way you looked at it.

But, my issues were not so cut and dry.  Public Enemy fueled my thoughts.  I started listening to Farrakhan tapes.  I read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”  My issues with black folk involved mostly what I saw as self hate.  Why did the Creole women get all the attention?  Exactly what is “good hair” or “pretty eyes?”

But if I dig deeper into myself, I have to admit I know those issues intimately, because there was a time when I had them myself.  It took effort, but I had to think my way out of them.  Hip hop helped me with that.  It made me self-analyze and come up with conclusions about who I was and about my skin’s societal stigma.  But as a black person, I had no choice but to come to this conclusion if I wanted to see a progression in my self esteem.  Other people do not necessarily have to have this epiphany.

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Hip Hop Purist: Contrast Bohemia/Workplace

Far from Krypton: Would You Look Up to Yourself As a Kid?

“Contrast Bohemia to my workplace” – Busdriver

A long time ago, when we were in our late 20s, me and my potna Neil were on one of our many walking excursions around town.  He mentioned that he was not living up to his own expectations.  I asked him what he meant.  He told me that when he was a kid, he knew he would be a superhero by now, and he just did not see THAT happening any time in the near future.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Being the adult that the child we use to be wanted us to be?

Maybe this is why I spend so much time thinking about my younger years.  Back then, I was Playdoh slowly taking the shape of who I am via the experiences I chose to live.  Now that I sit behind a computer in some nameless corporate office eight hours a day, I think I owe it to myself to reminisce from time to time.

Back in college, I use to hang around the hip hoppers.  Humans have a way of grouping themselves.  Like-minded people tend to create enemies of people who think differently.  Many times this brings about group cohesion.  But as the group grows, splinter groups form.  So even amongst the hip hoppers, there were subgroups.  I found myself hanging with the bummy, nerdy, argumentative, artsy fartsy subgroup.  We would debate for the sake of the debate.  We would poke fun at the pretty boy hip hoppers (as I am sure they made fun of us).  Our hip hop standards were extremely high.  We tolerated no bs music in any form. 

So one day, the homie Cosmo got a shipment of tapes from one of his homies on the West Coast.  I remember seeing the trademark Eligh rendition of the Eye of Horus, HAND DRAWN (!!) on one of those tapes.  But the tape that made the most noise in my subgroup was coMURShal.

The quality was horrible, but it was still dubbed and redubbed to the point where the hiss and static were louder than the beats and lyrics on some parts.  Eligh and Scarub had the style, MURS had the content.  We even found time to argue about different aspects of the songs we liked so much.

Then, the homie Thomas got a hold of an online tape catalog (http://www.truehiphop.com/atak/) advertising a new MURS tape.  He promptly ordered it and soon after, F’REAL came in the mail.  The quality was still terrible, but it was the original terrible.  Plus, we got the liner notes, which had been hand-cut at Kinko’s, and the blue cassette alluding to a certain gang affiliation.  The name of the work rang true on so many levels.

Thomas gave it a listen in his dorm room.  He then gave it to me to listen to one fateful weekend in my apartment.  I was all too familiar with the sophomore slump, so I did not really take it seriously.  I put it in the cassette player and let it be the ambient music for hanging out with the first woman I ever loved that weekend.

As the sun peeked through the blinds of the large, energy wasting, plexiglass windows of my apartment, F’REAL was still playing as we woke up.  As fate would have it, we both actually started listening to his words when “The Jerry Maguire Song” came on.  Our eyes widened as the lyrics of that first verse sunk in.  Our first words of that day had something to do with rewinding that song.

“Now most of us could waste a whole lifetime doin shit we don’t believe in/
So I’m retrievin words of gold to expose my soul/
On the sheets, combined with the beat, a song, complete, to compete/
Nah, cause most of y’all won’t understand it/
Takin this existence for granted/
Never goin after what you really want cause you ain’t got the heart/
So your life never starts to have meaning/
Fiending for somethin to fill that void, annoyed/
With the surroundings you picked ‘cause they don’t seem to fit your person/
Rehearsin what they said would make you happy/
Until you realized one day, ‘Damn they trapped me’/
But who are they anyway? To tell you how to live/
A college degree, then a career, the only decent way to raise kids/
But I disagree, see I wasn’t put here to make a living/
My living makes me, so even if it takes me a lifetime/
I’ma write rhymes that I feel/
Some shit for when I’m fired, that shit for when I’m chilled/
And even if I never make that ticket to a meal/
I’ll still be a success cause my purpose will have been filled.”

Moments like that leave an impact. Songs like that leave an impact. Even as I sit in my nameless corporate office, feeling the Playdoh I am composed of harden into the shape of something far from a super hero…

MURS – The Jerry Macguire Song

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The Hip Hop Purist: The Devil and Ms. Monae

“The dichotomy in me knew something was fishy.” – Saafir
 
I recently went to a Tribe Called Quest show in Atlanta. It was wonderful.
 
They performed all of their popular songs and then some. Jarobi even came on stage. Of course, Jarobi was supposed to be there. But someone else was not.
 
At the end of their set, Q-Tip announced the foreigner. I became a xenophobe, hoping for a Trouble T-Roy moment when Puffy grabbed the mic and said “Wassup, New York”. Boos were automatic. So were obscene finger gestures. I even participated in the fun, myself.
 
Puff, as hip hop’s Antichrist, has more than one reason to be hated (besides cheesecake delivery). He is the sole reason I check for the 7 Daggers of Megiddo on ebay. But this ain’t about him. It’s about his motives.
 
I recently had the pleasure of listening to ArchAndroid for the first time. This album snuck up on me completely accidentally. I heard good things about it so I decided to give it a listen via illegal download.
 
I bought Badu’s first album when it came out based on the strength of her first single. She was sneaking 5%-er mythology into mainstreamer-isms. I thought that this might be the thing that would change the R&B genre into something listenable. I bought the album and noticed it was replete with love songs and immediately gave it away. Lauryn Hill did something similar to me. I really want a female MC to be in my top 10 list. Medusa is the closest thing, but she just does not have enough material.
 
So in steps Janelle Monae. “Dance or Die” has her flowing her ass off over a fast, pop-y beat. I was impressed. I was even more impressed when I read the lyrics.
 
Then I noticed she had some videos. “Tightrope” seemed to have the most Youtube hits, so I gave it a try, still expecting the worst. Sometimes I love being wrong. The video was dope. I think I get the concept. The mental institution is symbolic of the mind. She starts off in her room and then sneaks into a hallway. She (Janelle) is symbolic of a thought. She is met by more thoughts (her dancers) and they start having a good time. Not sure about the minions dressed up as the grim reaper with mirrors for faces. They seem to be symbolic of convention or pragmatism.

Lyrically, she touches on the balance of emotions. Life is full of highs and lows. You have to know that either is on the horizon at all times. So don’t get too caught up in either the highs or the lows — thus the balance of tipping on a tightrope. She even shows that you can escape your mental state and go other places you have never seen before.
 
“I learned to relax in my room and escape from New York and return through the womb of the world as a thought.” – Rakim
 
She danced right through the wall of the institution and into the wilderness while gazing with what seemed to be awe. The mirror-faced minions followed her though and guided her back to her room in the institution.
 
Even if I am completely wrong about my interpretation of the video, it still provokes thought and discussion. Try to get that from Nicky Manaj (am I hating?).
 
So after I watched that video a number of times, I clicked on the next one. At first glance, it seemed much shallower than the previous one. It is one take of her singing “Cold War” with different camera angles focusing on her face. But she seems to go through a range of emotions during the take. There is one point where she even starts crying, although she tries valiantly to hold it back. When she says “I was made to believe there’s something wrong with me,” I completely felt her. I, too, was taught that there had to be something wrong with me through elementary, middle school and high school. I met up with a bunch of other weirdos in college, though. But those memories do hit hard and they hit randomly and they evoke an emotional response. She forced me to deal with those emotions while showing her own. Again, I was impressed.
 
I have not fully digested ArchAndroid yet. I really want to buy the album but I am torn. I want to show this talented young person that I respect her voice and her imagination. But I do not want to put one red cent in the pocket of the Antichrist.
 
Why would Puff sign her? Is he trying to add some sort of legitimacy to his legacy by promoting someone with actual talent? Naw, he is the Antichrist, and he has no soul. Right? Or could he be trying to prove a point? He signs a person with originality and imagination and throws his marketing machine behind her just to get a mediocre return on investment (on purpose, maybe) to show that the marketplace has no urge to be moved by thought.
 
I have read on some sites that the record sales have been pretty bleak. Janelle is a superstar. She is a role model for young women. She shows them that they can still be beautiful without being scantily clad. Having an imagination is a virtue! Having independent thought is not a crime! Fuck convention! Be the person you are supposed to be.
 
She should be selling out arenas. I checked her tour dates and she is merely opening up for other groups in small venues.
 
When I get my paycheck Friday, I will ask the Hip Hop Gods to forgive me in a moment of weakness. As a crusader constantly compelled to seek justice, I will spend my hard earned money to buy a copy of ArchAndroid, giving Diddy more power to destroy the art form I hold so close to my heart. Hell, I may even buy 2 copies.

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The Hip Hop Purist: My Christmas Rant

It’s the most wonderful time to be a whore for corporate pirates. Get jingling, baby.

This is my Christmas anthem forever. I know that some hip hoppers prefer other ones. Ras expresses exactly how I feel (although it is dated and he blatantly lies because only me, my homies and roaches should be here now).

I wish more people felt the same way – but isn’t that the plight of having an opinion? I mean Ras goes as far as to call his mom “bereaved.” What is a “mitochondria weave” you ask?

I will not win this battle, so I offer a truce.

Enjoy this time of year with your family. And although the reason for the season is the rebirth of the Sun, try to focus on fellowship with humanity rather than the money shot of capitalistic porn that this time of year actually is.

Here, let hip hop guide you in the right direction:

“I guess everyone would ride
in a benz rather than a bucket
Anyone reside in a crib nestled in a hill
than just to get by in a studio apartment
and live a better life
But don’t all cars get you there?
Don’t all shelters keep the rain from in your hair?
And ain’t lobster and tuna both protein?
And is the price of the shoe what protects your feet?
And ain’t it all just for the next man to see?
And can you take it all with you when your spirit leaves?
And when you’re gone will the people all remember
what you had, rather than who you were when you’re mentioned?” – Gift of Gab

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Fishing with Too $hort

“Mad technician / that loves to go fishing” – City Morgue, YZ’s Acid Rain, 1993 

I like to fish. I think I’m pretty decent for a person who has no boat.

In every body of water I cast on, I try to read what the fish are doing, to understand the type of fish I am targeting. Where are they most likely located? What are they feeding on? Do I have a lure that mimics their prey? Can I cast where I need to?

All of this is not something you can just pick up on. It takes years of trial and error to become seasoned. It’s fitting, then, that my seasoning came from Louisiana.

I spent alotta time honing my skills in areas surrounding Jefferson Parish. I remember me and a bunch of kids from the neighborhood using thread, a broomstick, safety pins and bacon to catch gar out of the canals.

As we got older and our allowances started to increase, we started to save up and buy actual rods, reels and hooks. I was in middle school when I got my first Zebco 202 combo. I felt invincible. But as my skill and finesse increased, so did my need for better gear.

The better my gear, the better success I had on any body of water. By the time I hit High School, I was basically a pro (with no boat, sponsorship or notoriety). I had my gear, my lures and my bike.

I lived in Kenner my freshman year at East Jefferson. A canal was the border of the district between East Jefferson and Bonnabel High. My sophomore year, we moved across the canal but I continued attending EJ. Even though I had outgrown the canal, I would still sneak a peek looking for gar every time I crossed it.

The weekdays belonged to school and chores. The weekends were mine.

Depending on the weather and my ambition, I would spend time fishing in one of 3 places: Lafreneire Park, The Mississippi River or Lake Pontchartrain. Lafreneire Park was cool but it was small. It was a nice place to test yourself though.

The river has a serious current and all you are really promised out of there are catfish. I knew every carcinogen known to man was in there but I heard rumors of catfish the size of Volkswagen.

Pontchartrain was my best bet. The brackish water has the most potential. You could catch bass, but there are also redfish and specks. And everyone wants a big redfish at the end of their line. Although I mostly caught the dreaded hard head cat while there, the potential was the real draw to the location.

As I made that ride on my bike, I would start reciting rap songs to make my trip go by faster. I noticed that one song’s duration always seemed to be perfectly in sync with my riding time. And people wonder how I could like Todd Shaw.

Some songs are the themes of a slice of time in your life. Too $hort’s “Cuss Words” still takes me places.

I saw Too $hort open up for Public Enemy in the U.N.O. Lakefront Arena. It was him, a mic and his dancer. When he performed “Cuss Words”, he let the crowd participate in reciting the lyrics. I remember seeing a security guard falling out on the floor laughing when Mr. Shaw pointed the mic to the audience prompting them to finish the “corn on the cob” line.

I lived off of 25th and Illinois.

According to Google Maps, I was 2.8 miles away from the lake. That song is 7 minutes and 47 seconds long. That is about 2.78 miles per minute or 21.6 miles an hour. That’s a pretty decent pace on a bike.

Of course the land was flat. The only real obstacles were Veterans Blvd and W. Esplanade. Google says it will take 15 minutes by bike. I am not too sure about that. I know people that can run close to that pace. I am on my bike and I am on a mission and I am a non-smoking high school student with decent cardio.

By the time I was saying “Cuss words, just let em roll…,” I was near my destination.

But ain’t a “cussword” just a word?

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a darn,” would have left theater goers in a state of blah when they went to see Gone with the Wind. Instead, the good Christian people left the theater offended in many cases, because the word was so taboo.

That won’t happen today. The word has lost it’s bite. Some say Richard Pryor did the same thing with the ‘N’ word. Of course, Todd Shaw popularized the ‘B’ word (even stringing out the vowel sound to emphasize his point).

Bad words just don’t have that edge anymore because they are so commonplace. So are they still bad?

Language evolves just like my fishing equipment. In recent history, I bet many people would rather be called a female dog, Too $hort-style, than be called “Anti-American.”

In some parts of the country, being called an “atheist” or a “socialist” is almost like being called the N word during the ’60s. In a few years, things will change.

Hopefully, I will see a time when people being called “Christian” or “Republican” will urge them to be embarrassed or offended enough to want to trade blows.

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The Hip Hop Purist: Yes, I Do Occasionally Sleep

count bass-d

Don’t you hate it when you have slept?

My boy Neil told me I should check out Count Bass D.  For some strange reason, my brain associated that name with an 808 bass artist from the 90s.  I ignored Neil’s request but he made me a copy of one of his cds anyway.  That cd has been collecting dust until recently.

So while driving and fumbling for something different to listen to, I stumble across “Dwight Spitz” by the Count.  I grudgingly give it a chance with my finger close by the eject button in case I hear anything sounding like Magic Mike.  I was delightfully suprised at what came out of the speakers.

Simple (I am not talking Lil Wayne simple – I mean they are simply delivered – unlike a Busdriver) rhymes over interesting beats – and I must focus on the beats.  I really enjoy his sound.  There is one track (“Take Control”) that I simply cannot shake.  I have played it ad nauseum but I promise I will play it again as soon as I get in my car.  I have no idea what it is all about – is he playing with my mind or controlling it?

dwight spitzThen there is the track with Edan.  The subject matter reminds me of “Do this my way” by Gift of Gab and Lyrics Born.  It is playful yet it vocalizes some profound stuff (accidentally or purposefully?).

“I gave away my riches but I still remained a rich man”

That sounds like something Jesus might have said prior to mentioning camels walking through the eyes of needles.

Anyway, I slept.  This album came out a long time ago.  I slept hard.  I will purchase this album and others from Count Bass D and I think you should do the same thing.

Thanks Neil.

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the Hip Hop Purist – This ‘n That

Hip Hop Purist – This N That

Anakin’s Prayer by Jay Electronica

Is it just me, or is this song about his break up with Badu.  I love the Flash Gordan intro – that shit is ILL!

It may be just my imagination, but it seems like Jay caught Badu doing something and under interrogation, a bore worm scenario arose 🙂

An idle mind is the devil’s workshop, so sorry if I am off base.  I should just take Jay’s advice and work on mastering myself so the devil will be exorcized from my thoughts.  Even if I am off – I like this song and I am looking forward to the album.

———————————————————————–

Azeem – Open em up

—————————————————————

Props are due

Ok, so Busdriver raps too fast.  His beats are too weird.  His voice is annoying.

BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!

How many rappers can deliver the cadence of Mozart’s Sonata in A Major so fluidly and keep the subject matter highbrow simultaneously?

“you nigga’s lookin G’d up
rollin in a Prius
but I gotta give my money management a C plus
For these foreclosed homes
and pork blown loans
I revisit the need to grind”

This one track makes whatever your excuse for not being a Busdriver fan seem flimsy.  May the haters see the California state bird on a regular basis.

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The Hip-Hop Purist: Stink Is Good

I am happy there is a stink over Henry Louis Gates getting arrested.

Do I think he should have been arrested? No.
Do I think the officer was doing his job? Yes.
Was it “stupid” to arrest this man at his own house? YES!

Gates was born in 1950 in West Va. That place still has race problems, like so many other places in the USA. I cannot even imagine having to grow up in the 50s and 60s in that place, but Gates did do it and he rose up the ranks to eventually becoming a Harvard professor.

gates arrestAs a black dude in America, I am often targeted by C cipher Powers. I work everyday. I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs or go to clubs. I am stopped for various frivolous reasons on a pretty regular basis—the last time I was stopped for my tag light being out (actually, based on skin color, I was in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time). When Five-O pulled me over, he asked for my ID. I did my best Annette Benning “American Beauty” impersonation (the tiki torch scene) and politely handed them over. In the process of him running my ID, he took the liberty to shine his flashlight all over my backseat and the floor of my car. He sent me on my way with a warning. After the ordeal I felt violated, as I always do.

But, standing in my house, I cannot do Annette very well. And after playing the role over and over again away from home, I am sure Gates found it hard to hold in all of those years of being targeted based on melanin. His door was already jammed and he was already pissed. But when po-po showed up asking for some ID while he was already at home—oh my.

Could he have risen above the occasion, just gave his ID and bowed down? Sure.
Could the officer have let the old man vent and just bounced? Sure.

Why is Gates the one who should have let it go? HE WAS AT HOME! Gates was not arrested for refusing to show ID, he eventually did. He was arrested for following the officer out of his home and asking for the officer’s ID (gosh darn right gosh darnit) and making a scene. The officer could have just gotten in his Caprice and bounced—but his fellow officers probably would have made fun of him back at the station.

“It’s harassment and the complex you carry when you’re running shit” – Slug, Scapegoat

As ideal and unbiased as I try to be when I look at life in America, I am a prisoner of my experiences. I am not a big fan of the police (though I do like “Zenyatta Mondatta” and “Synchronicity”). Many of my peers feel the same way I do. Only the police can fix this.

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The HIP HOP PURIST – The Greatest Album You’ve Never Heard

Aceyalone’s Book of Human Language is the Best hip-hop album ever. This is not an opinion.


INITIAL LISTEN
I remember when I first heard the album. My boy Neil used to send me tapes of stuff he got from Amoeba, Rasputin’s and Leopold’s during his excursions on BART back when he lived in Oakland. He sent me a Maxell cassette with the Slim Shady EP on one side and BOHL on the other.
At first, I was bumping the Eminem side because it was catchy. I played “Just the 2 of Us” and “Murder Murder” to the point that I cannot listen to them anymore.  I tolerated BOHL on the other side, passing the time waiting on Eminem’s sick humor.
This goes to show you how imperfect I am. As a person who is almost snobbish in my lyrical passion, I slept HARD! I wanted an “All Balls Don’t Bounce” Part 2, and BOHL was not that. It was way more important and I was just too embarassingly stuck on stupid to see it.
I even recall talking to Neil on the phone and telling him about Acey’s sophomore slump. This was a decade ago. I could say I had a lot going on in my life at the time — but that is just an excuse. Music gets me through my day. It makes me smile when I should justifiably frown. 
I slept HARD!

REALIZATION
I cannot tell you when Acey’s concept clicked with me. I have no idea what I was doing. I recall “The Grandfather Clock” hitting me first:
If you knew what made me tick/ It would probably make you sick/ Lay my days of my life in front of you/ And I will let you take your pick… Pull back the curtains/ But make sure that you are certain/ That it will be worth the energy/ That you end up exertin.
I have felt that way for a long time. It was almost like I was speaking — but in a manner way more creative than anything I could muster. Thus, I had to listen to this album more attentively. “The Balance” hit me next. I was playing around with Capoeira at the time. The beat sounded like it incorporated the berimbau, and everyone knows that Capoeira is all about balance. A line in that song hit me like a ton of bricks: “Cause giving IS receiving and seeing IS believing.”
This was the time in my life where my Pantheism was evolving into atheism. I was pretty vocal about shunning beliefs and replacing them with facts. That line gave my thought process pause. I had to think about my stances a bit more — in a Neo/Morpheus kinda way. But it didn’t stop there!
“The orthodox IS the unorthodox/ They just got you by the name/ The insane and the sane are the same.” It’s almost like Lao Tzu wrote it. 

UNDERSTANDING
Slowly, the motives of the songs started creeping in. Acey explained that every song was a chapter. The title of the album is exactly what it is. He goes over a cross section of things that make up the human experience.
So far on my radar, time and balance were tackled. As I thirsted for more, I slowly forgot about the Slim Shady EP.
On “The Hurt,” Mumbles (the producer of every beat on the album) used a triple-time signature or a 6/8 time signature (I am not a musician). Acey handles it nicely though. The beginning of the second verse again sounds like something I would have said:
The more I look around the more it hurts/ I quietly go berzerk when I work/ Hoping to find a part of my mind/ That’s mostly confined and blind (YES)/ Pure and refined/ untampered with time.”
Every song has its rightful place in the concept. Even when he cites Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” it fits in. There really is no stand-out track per se; you need to hear the whole thing to feel what he is doing. Some of his one-liners could be the basis of entire dissertations, though.

THE MASK
For example, in “The Faces,” he says: “To live and die is the plot but your face is the hook.” What comes to your mind when you read that? The guys who actually sung the Milli Vanilli songs? Or Jennifer Holliday? What about Sarah Jane from “Imitation of Life?” Or the prostitutes on your local hoe stroll? Obama? Hillary? Kucinich looking for his precious? Jamie Hector or Michael K. Williams on casting calls? Minstrel shows? The list is infinite and the line is everlasting.
The last song on the album is called “Human Language.” With this song, Acey deviates from the overall theme and gets personal. He is going over his positive attributes, while at the same time it feels as though he is going over mine (after all, we do have the same birthday). It is almost like he is bragging about how dope his mentality is.
That song was my anthem for a few years. Someone needs to put the line “Subliminals controlling all of y’all/ but they won’t take mines away!” on a T-shirt.  That song (along with the entire album) was listened to ad nauseum. Yet, I am not tired of it. I know every word and every place to pause to insure breath control.

GROWING INTO IT
Hip hop has never made an album like this, and it seems as though it will never make another one. Acey got 2.5 mics in The Source and not many people bought the album. People complained that they didn’t want to think as they were entertained. I could not say much because I felt the same way on my initial listen. Experience is the best teacher. I am a better listener now. 
 

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The Hip Hop Purist

Best of 2007

Busdriver – Roadkill Overcoat

I first heard “Kill Your Employer” on Busdriver’s MySpace page. I’m a fan, so I have grown accustomed to catching the words in his fast-paced delivery. I was hooked instantly. The angst he feels towards this group of people is shared by myself. The song’s subject matter is the hypocrisy of finding comfort in a system that you also protest against. Whether this comfort is living with your father who works for Halliburton or doing something as trivial as burning a flag vs. getting to the root of the problem, Busdriver’s words are brilliantly placed and the message hits hard. Recently in a CNN interview, Jack Nicholson said “You do not become militant if you wish to be a successful propagandist. Because all you will do is preach to the choir and further entrench your opposition.” Maybe, just maybe, Jack is a Busdriver fan too.

Roadkill Overcoat is full of very good writing over very good beats. There was one beat I hated initially so I continued to skip over the song. Plus, Busdriver was attempting to try his hand at singing, which made me hit skip even faster. But when I finally listened to “Sunshowers,” it became my favorite song on the album (at least for a little while). It is a song declaring the sin of watering down yourself to get exposure. I could name many rappers that I wish shared his ethics.

“The Troglodyte Wins” is his personal self-evaluation. He contemplates the point of trying when no one else is trying with you. What’s the point of being passionate about something when you are the only one with passion? Again, I relate. The words at the end

of his last verse are profound yet funny – “But this don’t go hand in hand with your Volkswagen van / because you voted in a defrosted CroMagnon man.”

Other notable songs on the album are “Mr. Mistake” (excellent delivery!!!!), “Secret Skin,” “Bloody Paw on the Kill Floor,” “Less Yes’s More No’s” and “Dream Catcher’s Mitt.” Of course, Roadkill Overcoat doesn’t follow the typical Viacom theme of what a hip-hop album is supposed to be. In this world of instant gratification, where anyone can be a hip-hop star, the audacity it takes to be yourself is worthy of the few dollars spent on adding this CD to your collection. If you are an artist of any sort, the cover art is another reason to pick the album up. That is, if you loathe the chicken scratch in your sketchbook. 

Here’s his homepage:

 http://www.epitaph.com/artists/artist/229/

 Check out  the video for “Casting Agents and Cowgirls” from the Roadkill Overcoat:

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