Ahmen is a well journeyed individual, this can be heard in the music. Born in Minneapolis to Sri Lankan parents his life lead him to Queens, Alaska, ATL, Washington, and even India before finally settling, for the time being, in New Jersey. “When I Was Up” is off his album Hero Ball that can be purchased by clicking the link below. All those influences can be found in his music, most of them present on “When I Was Up”, a jazzy and bouncy little ditty providing the back drop to Ahmen as he takes the listener on a lyrical joyride through life. Instead on concentrating on the things one does not have, he concentrates on the things we do have. That’s just my 2cents worth though, listen and draw your own conclusions.
The thing about concept albums is that even when developing a character the artist still puts some of himself in there. “Broken Again” is brutal and honest, my favorite track from PTSD, Pharoahe’s latest offering via We Are Renegade, his record label. There is so much of Pharoahe in the track, he’s very transparent. Something he has excelled at through out his long and distinguished career. It translates well to the video. The melody of the chorus should seem familiar to those of us who were alive in the 80s, I will not spoil the surprise though. You got google, get busy.
Comrade is an rapper from the DMV area and has made a name locally for himself not only lyrically but also as an organizer of student strikes, sit-ins, etc. “Walk With Me” which is featured on his album Comradery, (available at the link below for free) is his introduction over a guitar driven track. I challenge you to listen to the track without nodding your head. It is impossible I tell you, IMPOSSIBLE!!! Take a few moments and download his album below, I know you are going to dig it!
Can-I-Bus will be dropping Fait Accompli in the near future and we can thank him for getting the original 4HRSMN together, with Tragedy Khadafi, on “Historic” a JP Beats produced track. I want to be pissed off because a decade ago, I was all for this album dropping and now…well….I’m older and wiser and not at excited. However, I can still respect the lyrical abilities of all the participating parties. So, we will reserve judgement…..see what I did there?
Premier brings in the D.I.T.C. vet A.G. to spit over vintage Preemo production. A.G. shows those who might not know, why he’s been in the game for so long. Diggin In The Crates is just as relevant today. That makes Papoose, Dres, Jakk Frost, and now A.G. as the emcees to destroy the mic on Premier’s “Bars In The Booth” series, who’s next?
Common and No I.D. link up with Cali again. This time they call upon newcomer Vince Staples on “Kingdom”, the latest release from Nobody’s Smiling. Recorded as a call to action against the violence that is ripping through their hometown, Chicago, Nobody’s Smiling, is shaping up to be one heck of an album. Vince steps in on the third verse and rips it to shreds. With No I.D. in classic form this track has the feel of Like Water For Chocolate. This is the reason I refuse to listen to the Common has fallen off chatter ‘Ye of little faith participate in every so often.
It’s hard on these streets for a gangster, especially when that Gangster is Gibbs. Heavy is the crown. “Deeper” in vintage Freddie Gibbs lyricism vs vintage Madlib production. The result is something poetic, like those crazy patterns of light refracting off of oil in water. Cocaine Pinata is one of my favorite albums of the year and it keeps getting better with age like fine malt liquor. The visuals do poetic justice to the track, recreating the feel while providing and interesting perspective to the content of the track. If you have not picked up Pinata from Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, please do so. With your support one day we should be able to see another project from these two.