What exactly is a Soundbomb?
Ok.. here we are in the phase again peeps. I started to post a review on Mick Boogie’s Honor Roll Mixtape where he has New School Emcees updating some of the well known classic songs from this years VH1 Hip-Hop Honorees. But then I saw another blog where someone beat me to it. So scratch that idea…
Although I will say most of the covers are pretty good re-workings with a few jewels of creativity thrown in. It ain’t easy taking a classic rhyme and restructuring it to fit you as a totally different Emcee but still make it relevant to the original. If you still want to check some of that you can listen to one of the better tracks here…
U-N-I (6th Sense) – Stakes Is High Part 1:
Now…On to the review I did do. It’s a classic in my book hailing from the salad days of the on the scene, off the scene, on/off the scene again Rawkus Records, labeling itself now as Rawkus 50 and focusing more on the DigiRelease market more than actually putting the album in the stores since more and more people spend just as much time in front of their PC’s or Mac’s online shopping as they do actually getting up on a Saturday and spending a day at the Mall.
All in all, this is the same label that launched many a career from Mos Def and Talib Kweli to Pharoahe Monch, Hi-Tek and The High & Mighty. Even Big L (God Bless The Grave) let the label usher in his classic “The Big Picture” LP!
So it’s not like they don’t have an ear for talent, even if a lot of the artists that were there during the recording and release Soundbombing II have moved on or don’t really have any projects underway or about to drop now. At the time of this album Rawkus was really making a name for itself as a place where little known artists that had skills (Skillz) could get signed and put out an album where they had more creative control than most mainstream artists and touch the masses that weren’t controlled by the Radio and it’s Psychology and clamored for music with more substance. The Soundbombing series was Rawkus’ way of getting their bigger named artists on songs with the lesser known ones and appealing to more of the mainstream but still remaining underground at the same time. Not an easy feat, but this album picks up where the first one left off and runs with it.
The lead single for the album was the classic, 1-9-9-9.
1-9-9-9 – Common / Sadat X
Not only did it feature an already established with Brand Nubian, Sadat X but also another Emcee who was known but had not broken through the glass ceiling to the stardom he has today, Common.
At that time he was fresh off of dropping the Sense from the end of his stage name due to a legal battle with a rock group of the same name. I think it works better as just plain Common though. I’m also glad he stopped calling himself Petey Wheatstraw, like he did on his first album “Can I Borrow a Dollar” which by the way is a classic itself, although most didn’t become acquainted with Com until his Resurrection LP and his timeless ode “I Used to Love H.E.R“, which by the way I learned, thanks to Wikipedia, stands for “Hip-Hop in its Essence and Real“.
The 1-9-9-9 song was an instant classic, not just for the rhymes both Emcees dropped (Sadat kills it the way only he could, with his off-kilter, but strangely on-point delivery. I mean I think he is probably the only Emcee I have heard that doesn’t always rhyme the end of a bar or the middle of a bar or even a stanza or two later, like you would think he would but it still comes out tight!) I guess you have to listen to some classic Brand Nubian to understand what I mean.
Brand Nubian – “Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down (Remix)“:
I tried to find the video for 1-9-9-9 just in case someone reading has never seen it but the video was removed from YouTube due to some sort of third party dispute. Oh well, C’est la vie. The song also marked one of the first major tracks produced by the incomparable Hi-Tek along with an intro by Talib Kweli himself.
This was an album that showcased many Emcees that would have never seen the light of day even if they were on as progressive a label as Rawkus. It was also hosted and mixed by the Beat Junkies members J-Rocc and DJ Babu, who mixed the songs together in a mixtape-like format. DJ Babu’s turntablisim in-between the actual tracks is just incredible, especially his show of skills before
Kid Capri and The Beat Junkies – “Crosstown Beef Intro“:
Medina Green and Mos Def – “Crosstown Beef“:
Talk about a genius lead in. Just listening to it gets me hype every time! Ok…let me calm down to say, I like the album and just for something to throw in the deck and listen to while driving it does the trick.
Nuff said, here’s the download link: