Monday, September 17, 2007

Blue Scholars - Bayani

This is smart hip-hop. This is thoughtful hip-hop. This is passionate hip-hop. DJ Sabzi and MC Geologic have helped put the Pacific Northwest on the Hip-Hop Map with their brand of underground hip-hop. Joining forces at the University of Washington (Seattle) the group focuses on social and political issues of both local and national importance. The quality of their production is also an amazing virtue of their second full-length album Bayani. Most importantly, this hip-hop isn't concerned with album sales, drugs, sex, misogyny or rims.

MC Geologic flows, "spits", rhymes, and everything in between, but always with clear pristine vocals. Geologic has no need for flashy things, as he imparts humility and honesty into his lyrical content referring to how he's “Got holes in the soles of a third of my socks” on “Ordinary Guys." These conscious lyrics are coupled with Sabzi's deft beat making skills. There is enough space and funk injected that gives his beats a decidedly "old-school" flavor. The music created isn't easily pegged down, and as their press release says it exhibits, "Poetic lyricism with beats you can dance to. Marxist theory mixed with Baha’i spirituality. Musical influences ranging from Thelonius Monk and Aphex Twin to Marvin Gaye and J Dilla." All of these qualities are put to the forefront on the track "North by Northwest." Geo talks about their roots in the Pacific Northwest, ranging from wet weather to the Seattle Mariners. Their geography allows them to defy typical East Coast or West Coast hip-hop trends of yesteryear. But clearly, the Blue Scholars are here to serve notice that there is a burgeoning scene in the top left corner of the USA.

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