Sunday, March 6, 2011
To achieve the highly anticipated debut album without hype, propaganda and the co-sign of the payola patrons is one of the greatest feats in Hip Hop today. The realest ones do it the old school way. They can drop mixtape after mixtape of tight material and endless cameos and production features that entice us. So we get the ill like Termanology or Joell Ortiz or eLZhi. They were developing before our eyes and they gotta get the props from us. But there are others that appear with a mixtape or two or a million and their beginning is at the peak of everything else out at the moment. Some call out Jay Electronica and they can wait for an ill Roc album. That’s peace but the God I’ve called out is from Detroit, brother of already great Bronze Nazareth, with that sick Unbutton Your Holsters mixtape: Kevlaar 7.
With this EP, Who Got the Camera?, who cannot marvel at an MC that has now dominated every chamber of released music without a solo album. Appearing capably on Bronze’ debut classic “Who can fuck with me on the table of elements/Hand me a mic and I'll melt MC's irrelevant...” (“Detroit”), then exploding on their Wisemen group’s debut, Wisemen Approaching, with the solo feature “Mixture of Muhammad” (“Intense incense, spread fear and icey whispers/Deliver, flaming labels/spit omega fables/Cradle graves in my arms and lay in level angles/Angels visit basonets/ whistle clarinets/Cuz I rush my last moments on murky clouds of death”), release the Unbutton mixtape with original material like “Nothing to Hide” (“Keepin the fury full adds dirt to my burial,/I'm grippin on a piece so my fam can see peace,/A rare experience under the heaven we beneath,/My expense is war until my temple's deceased”) only to peak higher last year with the amazing work on Wisemen’s superior sophomore album, Children of a Lesser God. To then release this EP isn’t about proving his skill but maybe getting more buzz as he lets go of some b-side tracks that demolish the a-sides of the majority.
Kevlaar, as he revealed blatantly on the Children LP, with “Thirsty Fish,” “Victorious Hoods,” “The Illness 2” and “Faith Doctrine,” is an rugged beatmaker incorporating booming basslines and now any drum from the wax to bangin conguero in his studio session. On Who Got The Camera there are two Kevlaar beats where “Boulevard Article” is that ruggedness that now seems easy for him. This really is an EP of the best beats that won’t be on his Die Ageless debut and an exercise in lyricism. Kevlaar is an MC that truly a writer penning an entire concentration of deepest thoughts and burgeoning swagger on the page. For this EP he goes thematic and focuses on deft socio-political rhymes that are guided by the countless deaths of our people by the pigs despite camera footage and other measures of obvious proof. The great crate to support the theme is his use of the Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes that go against the mere integrationist propaganda that his canonization has offered. Kevlaar is a lyricist and his gift for the abstract artful brilliance, is contained here to instead detail the streets and oppressive bullshit as candidly as possible without sacrificing lyrical density.
Who Got the Camera is a concentrated effort of just a handful of Kevlaar’s gifts and these builds on our plagued communities might be the most relevant to prelude the most anticipated debut album in years, Die Ageless.
Mohammad Dangerfield is one of the most obvious great albums to be released in a long time. Easily the livest duo since Method Man and Redman, they are the most logical marvel team up I have witnessed in years. Their synergy has been witnessed for years as they catapulted off their “I’m Broke and Proud” duet. Still, the unity provokes a highlight of versatility that the underground enthusiast may not have noticed of them and the pop rap downloader never even fuckin knew.
To unite the brilliance of swagger and fierce righteousness of boxing legend Mohammad Ali and the brilliance of effortlessly classic one-liners of comic great Rodney Dangerfield is to bring MCing to a renewed truth. A truth that the MC, the live orator of verse, is a real person with insight and humor barred up in inspiring builds and engaging cleverness. Before Mo Danger, you may have to know of them personally to know that Rugged N Raw is truly a sincere, articulate and virtuous brother for the cause. You may also need to know that Hasan is an engaging personality who can be the spark to the jam as much as the bloodline of the revolution. With Mohammad Dangerfield, the oddity of the implied imbalance is exactly the joke. There is no imbalance. There is only one of the livest and naturally insightful albums from this next generation of great MCs.
The success of Mohammad Dangerfield is their command of the live aesthetic and transmuting that on record. The fuckin album is a party of builds, punchlines, flows and skills displayed. Wiith Hasan, an MC that holds the weight of the world in his greatest verses from “When the Guns Come Out” to “Kingdom of Heaven,” has so many places to react with anthemic verses of triumph (“Valley of the Kings”) to the builds from all of oppressions’ lenses as on the dynamic “Generation Kill” (“It’s not that I hate their freedom it’s that I hate that i have a wife and three kids and can’t feed em/ united states looks like a garden of Eden but they army’s taking potshots at the door when we leavin...”). Yet Rugged N Raw, an MC that is a master of the comedic carelessness of our poverty and free swag living, he has an incredibly paced flow that puts every word strong on the disc. His insights drive understanding home with their sardonic emphasis whether on “Generation Kill” or the great detailer of failed circumstance as he rhymes on “Break of a Star.” The interchange between them melds and blends into explosions of truly live MCing as they put the stage on wax on “Rhyme Like No One” or the concentration of that fluid, rollicking slow flow of “Truly Yours,” the strong concept songs as the anti-abortion “Unredeemed” or the battle circus of “Wrek Center.” Unlike some premature reviews, the beats immediately recognized have the familiarity of b-boy staples (“Mo Danger,” “Wrek Center”) yet are a majority of well chosen beds that multiply with the instrument of verse upon them.
Unlike many of the quality of MCs today, Hasan and Rugged really thrive in the same cipher as the greats they are influenced by. They have all the tools from the stage to wax and have the realness that we sadly stopped expecting from MCs when the 2000’s came and concessions were disguised as necessary to the realness. Mohammad Dangerfield is an album of exciting MC martial art with the depth of topical insight and thematic realness of peoples’ revolution.