Monday, January 17, 2005

say it loud like James Brown

poor or rich or rich or poor

‘Hip-Hop Game’ has posted Styles P’s new one, ‘I’m Black,’ appropriately on MLK Day. It doesn’t have the dancefloor drive that PE’s pride anthems had in ‘the day’ and it doesn’t hit the contemporary reportage that Styles (and company) brought in the ‘this just in’ ‘Why? Remix’ but it does collapse many of the more tread upon issues linked to the black community public image into simple digestible rhymes for a new generation. Styles brings his typically straightforward, unaffected delivery to couplets with some odd declarations (I don’t need a tan in the winter) along with some relatively bold ones (I don’t need jewelry to shine) and some obvious exaggerations (90 percent chance we get hung up in the courts). Alchemist brings his alternating beat bars (thump thump thump thump / boom-ba-clap boom boom clap) with dramatic theme music floating above with Primo-style repeat-note-sample triggers and then he brings Floetry in to lift the chorus towards a light and simple gospel (So proud to be just who I am / So proud to be so free). Styles may not be a ‘genius’ as he claims but his economic street preaching qualifies him as ‘a motherfuckin poet’ well enough.
And he IS one of the proven heavy-weights…In this round he’s less interested in ‘stinging like a bee’ than exploring a ‘rope-a-dope’ of conciousness for the hood… he’s drawing us in and winding up for the political punch he promises for his next solo LP ‘Time Is Money’ which will have Talib Kweli in his corner for the song ‘Testify.’

He throws a couple ‘jungle-fever’ jabs …
…my skin is kinda light
Means my ancestors were raped by somebody white

Don’t you be scared of me, mister
Cause you don’t seem to be scared of my sister

… nails the ‘round-the-way punch…
So I like to sing, dance and crack jokes
Eat good food and be around black folks

So I like the O.E.s on Sunday
Drink all night and still go to work Monday
… brings a flurry of standard connections …
I’ma say it loud like James Brown
People be proud cause we all up in the game now

I’ma hold my right fist real high
Might see my man and we might get real high

So I got a heart full of bravery
Do it for my people that went through slavery

…but the image I’m left with is a contemplative contender mulling over a change in Styles…
Even with a caramel complexion
Look in the mirror see a Malcolm and Martin reflection

They focus on the negative attention
Do some positive and never get mentioned
… but not abandoning his killer combos.
Look at my eyes, the wool can’t get pulled over
Look at my car, it stay getting’ pulled over

You can almost picture Styles speaking in the mirror…

" I'm trying to be more grown, I'm trying to go deeper. I don't want to be classified for the same thing all the time." –from Hip-Hop Game