Tigers in a Spotlight

I call it grad-school rap, cuz you need a Ph.D in bullshitology to grasp the phrenological implications and orgone accumulating dissertations. (There are exceptions. The new Blackalicious album, Blazing Arrow, is not only good for you but good to go. I hate most "positive" rap cuz I'm a rotter and a realist. Plus, I don't like having to eat my Black Eyed Peas before I get dessert. I always thought that Arrested Development were feds with dreads sent to destroy hip-hop from within. If the gov't could make rap boring enough it would set the stage for safe, bland crap that wouldn't make people think too hard. Maybe even a swing revival! The left coasters have better pot though, so their indie approach not only rocks harder but is shot through with hippy psych elements that make their sounds truer to the astral-punk-power-to-the-people-fuck-you! lifestyle I've been living ever since I started doing Vicodin pills with Beverly Sills. From Dre to the Piklz to Styles of Beyond to Divine Styler to Blackalicious, Cali makes mucho grande head music that'll stomp yur buzz with bront-y-saur beats. Listen to the beat on "Passion" from Blazing Arrow and tell me it needs to be dunked in scuzz and covered in fuzz. That shit's as tight as Betty White getting a love bite on the tit from Katarina Witt. That beat just is! Naked and unashamed. Plus, how many people can get me to buy an album that actually sez, "Featuring Ben Harper," on the back? And not only buy it, but like the song with Ben Harper on it!)

All El-P et al. offer are dirty bombs, and I wanna go nuclear. If I'm riding around town, I don't want people scratching their heads and running home for their thesaurus. I want them to think I'm cooler than Mort Sahl and Thor Heyerdahl hanging out in Nepal with The Fall and Lucille Ball in the midst of a summer squall. Fuck the hardcore bookworms. They got mad syllables, and in El-P's case, some righteous sound-lab expertise—Company Flow's all instrumental. Little Jimmy From the Hospitul is probably the greatest slab he's released. All Shadow-esque fantasy film-score freakouts with chill and cool to burn. But if you're like me, you want a beat that'll move feet like an exhibition of Napoleon's pecker on the isle of Crete.

Blackalicious play S.O.B.'s July 10.

Prog-rapper El Producto
photo: Maya Hayuk
Prog-rapper El Producto


Fantastic Damage
Definitive Jux

The Future Is Now

Blazing Arrow

Scott Seward can be berated at Skotrok@earthlink.net.

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