The Hustler and the Hunted Pt. 3
Today’s conscious MC is now known as an active MC. The greatest MCs have only once lived and survived the reality they speak of yet the conscious, righteous MC is expected to continue into the latest battles that they chronicle. Why? Because the shit is real, motherfucker! While all rappers and select MCs are no longer guaranteed eventual riches after being pressed on wax, the freedom fighting lyricist has and always will be on the frontlines. The Revolution is actually a fucking element of Hip Hop. So for the real G’s on the street and those fans outside of Fat Beats that meet, Boots of the Coup gotta teach the kids, Chuck D must be the redeeming presence, KRS the punctuating commentator, DPZ gotta be at the activist rallies and Gods’ and Earths’ parliaments, Immortal Technique is supposed to fund an orphanage in Afghanistan and A-Alikes are supposed to “FTP!,” document oppression and offer the street protocol, codes and honor precisely at all times.
And as they all do, A-Alikes continues making their content a daily way and ethic for dealing with this devilish society. The realness of the MC is required for greatness and since their first full-length, Live or Die followed by the official release, I Eat, You Eat, they show more definitive personas, dexterity and styles with the newest mixtape release, The Hustler and the Hunted, Pt.3. Playing like a full length album, with interesting sound clips, including the chronicling of Tupac’s bucking of two pigs, Ness and K naturally speak to issues of poverty, hopelessness, anger and frustration that have sadly been assumed irrelevant today. Revolution is not a gimmick but the word that focuses one on empowerment (“It’s more than just putting lines together like Revolution is more than just popping a cop top”). A-Alikes have the innate ability to offer the uplift from our degraded survival as oppressed Original people (Black, Latino, Indian, Asian, etc.) with a protocol of war, real ways to uphold one’s honor and a redefinition of manhood that includes taking care of the children or just…fucking caring.
The mixtape certainly shows a growth in delivery as in the rolling flow of “Do Your Time” or the stuttered pace of “A.R.T. (All Real Things), clever and insightful similes (“fake niggas move with no foundation like a mobile home”) being used over nothing but hard breaks and crisp snares. The featured cuts for their upcoming album, “Currency” and “Sirens in the Distance” with the resurgent Mos Def are great appetizers. Mixtapes today are often loosely designed albums of enticing filler for the next album. A-Alikes offer something a lot more and set up their Us Against Them LP right and exact.
Classic 1824 Music
The MC of great power is one choosing to spontaneously represent his namesake(SHA-KING), show dem beards, make you pump ya fist and provide a headstart for all the poor peoples in the sacred land. What it is is an innate nature, something he’ll say is “inma bag” he’ll be choosin’ to pull out from interlude to interlude offering real change for a better 2morrow as this must be a new day to finally present for the Yellowseed. The Yellowseed for the Gods and Earths represent those Original brothers and sisters often of Latino descent or Asian descent. In hip hop’s history, the inflicted invisibility upon the particular Yellowseed, the Boricua, has been atrocious and taken a forum away from us that we earned in creating and refining.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that when we finally hear a Boricua on the mic, they are of a more tested and able caliber. With no margin for error, Sha-King, a brother known in his Pittsburgh community and on the web for teaching and building with the youth, offers a precocious album that shows insights and the deepest references from arcane insights to untaught history. On “Namesake” he brilliantly shows this raw fury with a stream of conscious flow that is filled with ideas to study on consecutive listens. “It’s like the script from Apocalypto/ we’re acting other than our ownselves/ cocking pistols even though we got potential I’m so powerful/ a nigga almost dropped his pencil/ I write like Peltier from prison on a lot of issues…”
Gneticz and DJ OSO aka Trama provide the majority of the beats to a more than satisfactory effect. There is refinement in the eqs, snares and live melodies that propel the verses. The intro and outro verses set a template for the tracks that are really, in the classic Ice-T mode, a forum for the MC. Still, Living Proofe shines in his appearances. Listening to Sha, there is the clear potential for growth in dexterity and flow while his content is already at an engaging level. Yellowseed is easily one of the better independent albums of the year.
Eyewitness: The Mixtape
Classic 1824 Music
“Can there be more than 3 female MCs in one room without you trying to figure out the best one cuz only one is allowed to live and shine”
Pittsburgh is throwing away all the chips on their shoulder. Aside from the Latino, the only peoples more degraded and demonized in Hip Hop are the Original women. So while we may be angered by it, a female MC to come with the same anger in response without diluting her integrity, skill and necessary smoothness to destroy the savage indoctrination is very rare. So then the mixtape has its primary specialty, to present the raw and uncut, ascending talents of the said MC. That the vast array of styles and unique preparations of forums are offered to reveal the dynamic nature of the introduced MC.
Begin with an acapella to let loose on like “If My Microphone Could Speak Intro” where Angel Eye attempts to clearly state her issues, present the pros and cons and then definitively reveal what the female MC really is. But the intensity only increased with the rock grooves of “Go the Distance.” Then shifting to the dexterous, bounced flow of “Just A Thought,” the slow, stuttered vibe of “Whatever You Need” she then smoothly glides into maturing tales of “Pathways” and “Third Rock From the Sun” reveals the wonderful feminine traits of the supreme Original female MC, The Earth. An Earth from the Nation of God and Earth, Angel Eye is set to represent but it doesn’t constrict her subject matter or verbal scattering; rather, it offers a large palette to match her varied nature. Angel Eye easily recalls early Queen Latifah with more than the desire—but the need to express countless ideas in myriad ways and styles. While there is much for Angel Eye to develop and refine, these mixtapes project are a wonderful place to eyewitness her explorations and define herself as an artist.
“Wisdom is wise words, ways and actions…you gotta be swift and changeable. You gotta be able to say one thing five different ways to five different people. That don’t mean you lose the essence of who you are. That just means you know how to communicate…you know how to do what you need to do in any environment that you’re in.”