• Late Review: No One Knows You EP by Shawn Chrystopher

    Mar 6 2011, 5h40

    Although “No One Knows You” was made known in 2008, I’m still feeling the impression it made from our introduction last year. As the album that lead me to Shawn Chrystopher, the self admitted “Cornel West of the West”, it performs a heart transplant on a hip hop style that had earlier procedures done by The Neptunes, Kanye West, and Lupe Fiasco among many others. What aligns Chrystopher with them is his way he creates a persona that assumes the role of Superfly in the soundscape. What distances him from them is his other role as Saint Anthony in the soundscape. In either guise, he ensures that he shows up and shows off.

    Lyrically, he is resourceful and well-steeped in the themes and styles of the last few decades of the genre. Assertive, he doesn’t have to be “the best of the rest”(Grizzey) but rather the best of himself in almost every track. The song “Flyer Than…” as a personal favorite despite being dressed in the same Hollywood couture of most radio hits, still makes the clothes feel good. But the sincerity of the of the album is in the tracks that serve as apologia to hip-hop itself.

    As a love letter to the genre, “Dear Music” promises to rescue it from the cheapening pits of bullshit. “Grizzey” capitalizes on that sentiment, making another promise to the gimmies or the opportunists in the studio that he is “what was, what is, and what’s next.” Chrystopher stays on task in “Keep Your Classroom”. While still another pact, it is one Chrystopher made with himself as a playful testament to the skeptics that his book learning is in beat learning.

    Simply said, “No One Knows You” showcases Chrystopher’s hip-hop ambitions that will most likely take him to the skies. His sound is familiar, but his style is distinct.Shawn ChrystopherNo One Knows You EP
  • Late Review: Pilot Talk II by Curren$y

    Fev 19 2011, 13h01

    This is probably not news to most of you but for the rest I urge you to allow a certain rapper to take you on a flight that is high in multiple senses. This pilot of course is Curren$y a.k.a. Hot Spitta, a New Orleans smooth operator who along with Ski Beatz as the main man among many producers, puffs a suave sound brimming with smoke laced jazz into the room.

    While some of the tracks themselves fizzle out, the theme of laid back langour gives the album its due cool. That along with conspicuous and nicely consistent references to marijuana. Spitta happily joins the crowd when he ‘s “wearing a bow tie till the day I die”(Michael Knight), playing along with the hype game that we all know and what everybody grows. Where Spitta outstands himself is when he lets rap and wordplay go at it in his head. He speaks his mind without really having to pronounce things when he gets so “high as to autograph the sky”(Famous) or when he makes us watch as he’s “scribbling fire on a streetcar named desire”(Famous) just so we too can glimpse that image of advertisement etched into ability.

    Curren$y, as I’ve admired him with that smoky drawl and reserved allure makes a seasoned statement on top of already hot sauced beats.

    He makes himself known on the tracks by behaving like a merchant who can sling finesse in a dimebag. There’s space on the couch for everyone according to Curren$y. “Fashionably Late” codifies this relaxed celebrity. A celebrity that fans away the fanfare to make room for the high.

    Stripped to its undies, this album blows the smoke around to make you a believer, an evanglical. Not just in Curren$y himself, but also in his cult of chronic leisurePilot Talk II