Welcome to the second installment of this ongoing musical excavation, in which I will present you some fine gems that I gathered through years of digging. Well, let’s grab the mental pickaxe and dig for deeper sounds, you dig?
J-Live – The Understanding
J-Live is a well respected underground mc and if you need an explanation why, then just listen to this song. This is Conscious rap with a capital C, as J-Live celebrates the love for music, family and (his) progression through life in general, all in a calm and convinced manner.
Knowledge, wisdom, understanding.
QWH – Trop Plein
Those Frenchies now how to keep it jazzy. Even with my porous understanding of French language I hugely enjoy this song. There is such a fine laidback feel to it that it immediately makes me reminisce about friendly French folks having a fine time together. The singing at the end just finishes it off in style.
Moka Only – Mic Dinnit
Let’s keep it on the mellow tip, with my favourite weirdo Moka Only. In the first Hidden Gems episode I already described a bit why this guy intruiges me so much. Besides being super-productive I am often amazed by his distinct sound. It’s not that his quirky rhymes will blow your pupils out of their sockets, but there is something to the way he effortlessly flows on his own sounds. I always get the impression this guy lives in a lair and barely bothers what other rappers are doing which results in an original mindset. You might want to check this video from 2008 to see how talented he is. http://youtu.be/WNjO3AECqj8
Blacastan – Big East
Go! Go! Go! Check out this brief but bumping possecut from a gang of rappers of whom Blacastan has attracted the most attention. It’s not hard to hear why: the man sounds like a missing member from the Wu Tang Clan. His rugged voice and solid rhymes are sure to make your head nod a bit harder.
Sharlok Poems – More Than Seen
Urban pressure. Class injustice. Paranoia. Confusion. Ignorance. Hints of apocalypse. Yes, we have offically left mellow territory. What a powerful sound this is. Every rapper stands his ground and the strong chorus emphasizes the troubling theme. If you like this track then check out other works from Sharlok Poems, also known as ‘Sareem Poems’.
Kool Keith & Tim Dog – Big Tyme (Memory Man Remix)
Seven years ago I went through a very influential “Kool Keith-phase”. I especially loved his older Ultramagnetic works but was equally obsessed with his mid 90’s works of which this is a very dope example. Tracks like these make me even more sad about the turds Kool Keith manages to produce nowadays. But let’s change the subject, listing Kool Keith’s worst tracks is food for another blog post someday.
Blu Rum 13 – Deviant Diction
It’s not everyday that you hear a rapper weave a long but coherent story about the construction and development of language. Blu Rum 13 (what?) manages to pull it off but you have to really listen to be able to appreciate it. It’s not a song that i listen to often but hey, some gems don’t need to be exposed all the time. Their brilliance might linger vibrantly in your being long after the first glance you gave to it.
Smile Rays – Musem
Okay I admit: I’m deeply in love with this song since it first jubilantly decorated my mind six summers ago. While I am typing all of this I am simultaneously playing the song and again it raises the hairs on my arms. The sung chorus is so damn sweet, the beat so tight but dreamy, the rappers so in tune with the sound…audio-euphoria that strikes the highest chord in my mind!
Rashad & Confidence – Shining
Yeah you hear that “Bob James – Nautilus” sample, and a gifted young lyricist eager to display his dreams. The whole sound is reminiscent of 90’s boombap and the stuff I give to those rusty heads forever glorifying the ‘Golden Era’. Nothing wrong with that as long as they never forget that the gold of the soul shines through all ages..
Project M.O.V.E. – Planet Earth
One third of Project MOVE is probably my favourite mc hailing from Boston, Moe Pope. Sorry Edo G! This beautiful track stems from the “Butterfly Theory” album, after which the three mc’s pursued other endeavours. Moe Pope has been the most succesful of the three since then, with Raheem Jamal and Anonymous Mike fading into obscurity. It makes this track and the encompassing album even more special. Hiphop music as a time capsule of life, a picture of the combined ambitions of three young men. It’s so strong and frail at once. And with that, i’m out. See you next time!