David Banner/Beans/People Under The Stairs/Styles of Beyond/3582/Abstract Rude/C-Rayz Walz/Immortal Technique

lesson: It’s always important to sit down with your guru and let him/her know what you’ve been diggin’ lately.

3582 (Fat Jon & J. Rawls) – “The E (Remix)”
Hum Drums Records

Gabe: I know you like Fat Jon.

PA: He’s been holdin’ it down for a while and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Him and J. Rawls are two of the dopest producers in the Hip Hop and people ain’t even hip to em…even in their home state of Ohio.

Gabe: Yeah, sounds familiar. Why do you suppose?

PA: They don’t fit into that hot underground sound of super-intelligent, conscious rap, you know that Def Jux, Anticon type shit.

Gabe: Yeah, and they’re not all “Party Up!” and crunkin’ it. I think I like this track because it may be the first rap track exclusively about e-mail. It makes Jon sound like a total techy dork, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m glad someone has finally decided to tackle the tough, timely subjects.

PA: Damn, that sounded hella sarcastic.

Fat Jon: “I train my brain by hypertext. HTML, JavaScript, Error Messages usually don’t connect…” “If I have to, I’ll mail you from an Internet Café…”

PA: Yeah its lightweight corn, but this shit is all bout da beats.

Gabe: You should email Fat Jon about making an appearance on your radio show… it sounds like he’s a very polite and prompt e-mailer.

People Under The Stairs – “Out Da Club”
OM Records

Gabe: Man, I’ve been rocking these cats a lot lately. They’re just… (moves shoulders side to side in an attempt to illustrate how “groovy” the music makes him feel) the shit!

PA: They’re dope.

Gabe: And it’s about time someone wrote a send-up of “In Da Club”, seeing as it’s the most overplayed track of the year. And this beat gets the usual People Under the Stairs treatment by smoothing off the rough edges of the original… not to mention, it’s pretty funny… using vocal samples from the original to make it sound like they’re the cats in the club that are pissing 50 off.

Double K: “They want me to quit yellin’?”
50: “Homie, I ain’t concerned.”
Double K: “They wanna go upside my head?”
50: “Homie, I ain’t concerned.
Double K: “They say my posse’s to wild.”
Fitty: “Homie, I ain’t concerned.”
Double K: “Now I’m getting kicked out da club”

PA: You know Thes One and Double K would rather be up on da porch blazin a spliff any damn way.

Gabe: (smiling, swaying back and forth) Yeah, sorry 50, but we can relate more to this.

Styles of Beyond – Bleach
Ill Boogie Records

Gabe: I don’t want to listen to this now. I put this on here because it’s the follow-up single to “Mr. Brown”, which was ridiculously dope.

PA: I didn’t hear that one, did I?

Gabe: No.

PA: Well damn you should have put that on here instead.

Gabe: I know.

PA: This is a’ight though. But I want to hear the cut! (grabs remote and skips ahead a few)

David Banner – Cadillac on 22s
Universal Records

Gabe: I thought you were getting sick of this song?

PA: Uh, yeah… but you know, it’s like a drug fix… it’s a damn beautiful track.

Gabe: I agree. I had to listen to it over and over again from you for the past week, so yeah, it’s grown on me.

David Banner: “God I know that we pimp. God I know that we wrong. God I know why we should talk ��bout more in all we song.”

PA: Someone told me that David Banner’s niece was actually hit and killed by a Cadillac on 22s.

Gabe: No shit. Well, I saw the video for this track and the video begins with a little girl being killed by a Cadillac, but David Banner touches her in her coffin and she comes to life. Then, he’s walking down the street giving the miracle touch to his dead friends in the street, and he’s wearing a shirt that says “R.I.P. Emmett Till” whose lynching was a turning point in the civil right’s movement. He leads these walking dead to a bridge where a guy, who I think is supposed to resemble Emmett, waits to lead them into the afterlife.

PA: He’s like a dirty South Jesus.

Gabe: Yeah, and the lyrics are very apologetic of his lifestyle and, hell, every rappers lifestyle. But it would be difficult for someone to not like this song ��cause it’s so soulful… and convincing. The bass elements are de-emphasized and it’s all melody, like a gospel hymn.

Abstract Rude – All Day
Battleaxe Records

Gabe: This is the first time I’ve heard Abstract Rude.

PA: This is the new single?

Gabe: Yeah, but when did you get hip?

PA: I’ve been listening to Ab Rude for a minute…like around the time South Central Thynk Tank come out, from Abstract Tribe Unique, in about ��99. But Ab Rude been down with the Project Blowed crew since back in the day, he did a lotta rhymin with Aceyalone. They come on a whole different vibe from what people expect outta South Central L.A. Ab Rude comes with that ill ass sing song type that Bone ended up biting, but he’s the originator of that ish, and he’s got the ill ass flows…quite the storyteller.

Gabe: You know, I could listen to this track all day. It’s so minimally pretty. It’s just that one repeated flute loop that stands as the foundation… a skeletal beat, and then there’s the occasional “All Day!” vocal sample supplementing his verses. That’s it. And lyrically, it’s the usual subject matter… complications of stress, work, love in daily routine.

PA: Yeah, what’s wrong with that?

Gabe: Nothing. I mean, I like this song a lot. I just don’t know why? That happens to you occasionally, doesn’t it?

PA: Never.

Beans – Mutescreamer (Prefuse 73 Vocal mix)
Warp Records

PA: Man, Prefuse 73 gets on my nerves. I mean, I know why people like him and all… but damn… why does he have to do that static-y, intro thing and why does it get all click-ity clack-ity and shit?

Gabe: Well, I don’t think it’s grating at all. But now I’m sorry I subjected you to something different. Jeesus, excuse me.

PA: Whatever, if you wanna listen to that noise go ahead, but I prefer to hear some smooth beats I can chill to, not no disjointed shit. It just ain’t fluid.

Gabe: I’m sorry, but that’s the kind of shit I like to hear from you. Everyone is on Prefuse’s jock right now and you refuse. That’s very brave… stupid, but brave.

PA: Let’s listen to something else.

Gabe: I just want to listen to this until Beans says “If talent was a toupee, you’d be… easily removed!” I love that metaphor.

PA: Good metaphors don’t make for a good song Mr. Gloden.

C-Rayz Walz – Buck 80
Definitive Jux

Gabe: Nothing new here. Just another great Def Jux single.

PA: But you ain’t hip to C-Rayz getting busy on Def Jux.

Gabe: No, but I’m sure they’re having fun being the #1 underground label… shit, for the past two years, which is an eternity in hip hop.

C-Rayz: “I’m master of the cipher, Lord of the Rings, and my third eye blings like the Scorpion King. And that’s exactly what sounds funny, see, ��cause when I rap next time it’ll be on the soundtrack to Mummy 3.”

Gabe: It’d be better than Linkin Park, that’s for sure. Those Asian pi pa sounds might fit in with Tom Cruise getting crunk’d with the geishas in “The Last Samurai”.

PA: Pea pod?

Gabe: Pi Pa. It’s this guitar-ish instrument that’s played upright on the musician’s lap…uh… yeah.

PA: Whatever. C-Rayz be comin with some raw in your face flavor. There is no mistaking that East coast griminess. The beats are on point. Stronghold crew representing. And to C-Rayz’ credit he didn’t abandon his peoples when he got signed to Def Jux, he’s still got the same cats runnin’ with him. Just took Def Jux to introduce this cat to the masses, but he been round for a minute in the Underground scene.

Immortal Technique – Industrial Revolution
Uncle Howie Records

Gabe: This guy’s anger is so focused and… well-thought-out and… articulate. I mean, there’s no way you could believe he’s striking a political rap pose. The lyrics aren’t vague enough to be silly, like the Black Eyed Peas.

PA: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Gabe: I mean, he references Ariel Sharon and the Taliban and all these timely subjects, you know? They haven’t just sat down and said “OK, let’s write that token political song now.”

PA: I guess. But why would anyone pretend to be political when they could just bling bling?

Gabe: Yeah, I guess you’re right. Political rap is probably pretty hard to do well… a lot of routine reading and shit. But I also like how the production just stays way off in the background, like it’s just window-dressing for his lyrics. This is a perfect example of how beats and lyrics are in a symbiotic relationship. When one is on, it’s best to not try and push the other too intensely.

PA: Yeah, I definitely think this is the best track, lyrically, that you have on here.

Gabe: It’s great. Unfortunately, I feel the same way about other political groups, like the Coup… like, I kind of hope they continue to be politically oppressed for long periods of time, so they will always have this great abundance of material.

PA: We need to get out and sign a petition or something.

By: Gabe Gloden
Published on: 2003-12-18
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