Saturday, October 24, 2009

Crate Digging: Bayani

by Blue Scholars

I love this album. This was my first exposure to the Blue Scholars, and it has made me a dedicated fan.

I would say that this album is just about perfect. Sabzi's beats are lovely, and I like the way he lets them run for a while after the vocal part of a song has finished. Geologic's lyrics are provocative and on point throughout.

Favourite tracks include 'Bayani', with its talk of immigrant struggle, and 'Back Home', a song about the soldiers fighting in Iraq that doesn't succumb to simplistic emotional appeal or patriotic sentiment, instead providing a clear story followed up by a strong anti-war message. '50K Deep' deals with the anti-globalization protests that happened in Seattle a few years back. I'm pretty sure it's the only hip-hop song in existence (let alone one that bangs) that addresses this topic. And it addresses it very well.

'Joe Metro' is one of my all-time favourite songs. In it, Geologic narrates his trip on the Seattle bus system. It's such a simple concept, but he pulls it off beautifully.

I know that this album has recently been re-released. Anyone looking for an intelligent and beautiful example of what hip-hop should be could do a lot worse...

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