Monday, September 18, 2006

Make a change to your ears' diet

Sick and tired of rap music with little substance? Are you ready to throw something at your television every time MTV and BET show a music video with scantily clad women and excessive materialism?

Luckily, two recent hip-hop albums provide compelling lyricism and songwriting, backed by excellent music.

First, Game Theory. The seventh studio opus from the Philadelphia-based band, The Roots, might be the darkest and most challenging record to be released in 2006 thus far, in any genre. The band plays intricate and spacey melodies that range from the frantic (“Here I Come,” which can be heard at The Roots’ MySpace page), to the melodic (“Atonement”). The album’s highlight, though, is rapper Black Thought’s ability to vividly capture the world’s problems through his songwriting. He delves into issues such as the Bush administration’s faults (“False Media”) and his fear of government spying (“Livin’ In A New World,” also on their MySpace page). When he isn’t tackling politics, Black Thought touches upon personal issues, such as broken friendships (“Clock With No Hands”) and the death of his friend, music producer J Dilla (“Can’t Stop This”).

Another great record, featuring more breadth and substance than most current hip-hop, is Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor. Lupe Fiasco, a native of Chicago and a devout Muslim, takes a left-field approach on this, his debut album. He rarely utters a curse word, and he is able to construct highly-metaphorical and witty stories that give his album a very down-to-earth feel. He has love songs (“Sunshine,” to his girlfriend and “Kick, Push,” to his favorite hobby, skateboarding), while he also tackles issues ranging from father-son relationships (“He Say, She Say”) to the effect of American-Muslim relationships in our post-9/11 world (“American Terrorist”).

All of Lupe’s album can currently be heard on his MySpace page.

So, while most thought-provoking and socially-conscious hip-hop rarely makes it onto the radio or MTV, this doesn’t mean it’s not out there. For those seeking more meat and potatoes in their musical diet, look no further than The Roots and Lupe Fiasco.


Post a Comment

<< Home