Rap & Hip-hop finds.

by G.T.

     Rap is, by far, one of my favorite genres of music, along with jazz and it’s many variations (i.e. acid jazz, chess jazz, etc.), and Latino music. Over the course of the year, I’ve come across a few artists that have songs that really had an effect on me.

     This is the first rap that really caught my attention, back in, I’d say, late March. The artist is Jay Electronica, and the single is titled “Exhibit C”.

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lrVO3pPDP4

     This is the type of rap I enjoy most: rhymes that convey strong emotion, contain a depth that seperates itself from other rappers. He confronts the lack of authenticity of other rappers, but avoids that typical “beef” cliche. Regardless of whether rappers have lived their rhymes, this rap challenges the philosophies of those rappers, or lack thereof.

    A friend of mine turned me on to this next emcee, J Live. Here’s a link to, “The Upgrade”.

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTji2ye_RVI

    One aspect I like about J Live’s sound is how it’s something of a fusion of hip-hop and soul, sort of a nu soul beat. I particularly enjoy the horns toward the end. It’s because of artists like him that makes the underground hip-hop scene worth delving in to. Like “Exhibit C”, I find “The Upgrade” a declaration of this artist staking his claim.

     To completely stray from the current style of the previous two artists, this next single is from the underground gangsta rap scene in Chicago. I first heard this on a Chicago radio station that has a segment that airs local rappers. I always find Chicago to be overshadowed by the West and East coasts when it comes to rap, so I enjoy this radio show that introduces artists straight out of Chicago. However, the single is so vulgar that it seemed like damn near half of the lyrics were censored. Here is an uncut version.

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDpdxSbvzSg

     To my knowledge, this single was also included in a contest on BET’s 106 & Park. As far as gangsta rap goes, this group certainly lives up to their rhymes. Fatalities, incarceration, this group has experienced it all. Although controversy can erupt over it’s blatant lyrics condemning the police and the violence ridden throughout the city, that’s their perspective. These are rappers who acknowledge it, whereas other Chicago rappers, like Common, often focus on other elements, such as poverty and the plight of the very topics that this specific group seems to almost glorify. As far as this single is concerned, it’s definitely hard. That’s for sure. I’m wrought with ambivalence, though. On one hand there is the talent one must consider, and on the other, the harsh reality. Then again, these two elements make gangsta rap what it is. Always has (i.e. N.W.A.), and always will (i.e. L.E.P.).

     This last one is from an artist that I just discovered on Tuesday, while listening to one of the rap stations on XM radio. He’s Big K.R.I.T., hailing from Mississippi.

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuYQDyw14j8

     I don’t know much about Big K.R.I.T., other than he’s from Mississippi. Like I said, I just heard this rap for the first time yesterday. What caught my attention was the definite Southern style of this artist. Maybe it’s just me, but a lot of Southern rappers have been releasing music that has (and like I say, my opinion) been straying from that genuine sound of the “Dirty South”. This rap was very refreshing, and I’ve listened to it and other tracks by Big K.R.I.T. since finding out about him yesterday morning.

     My only intention of writing this post was to discuss these rappers and emcees that aren’t heard about so much right now. And it just so happens that I’ve offered a diverse range of rap styles. If there’s a relatively obscure artist that you like, please mention them.