What revisionist rap fans forget is that the Roots were lamenting the state of the genre in ’96, a year which brought us ATliens, All Eyez On Me, The Score, Hell On Earth and Reasonable Doubt. Nas was supposed to save purists from pop-rap in ’94 but two years later, Jones became part of the problem with It Was Written (at least in their eyes.) Fast forward a few years later, and rap hit the peak of its commercialism. At the height of the jiggy era, the East Coast rap scene was hungry for a popular rapper who rapped well about something more resonant than cash, money and hoes. Bad Boy owned shiny-suit-and-ties rap over 80s pop tracks, while Ruff Ryders delivered aggressive club bangers, but select fans felt like there was something missing. Purist fans expected a lyricist who would make no concessions to commercial appeal.
Plus: Just reviewed Blueprint's new album Adventures in The Counter-culture for Exclaim!, click the excerpt for the whole shebang.
Blueprint's sophomore album has been a long-time coming, arriving six years after his 2005 solo debut, 1988. The Columbus, OH rapper/producer has kept busy in the meantime, teaming with RJD2 and fellow OH resident Illogic in the groups Soul Position and Greenhouse, respectively. With Adventures in the Counter-Culture, Printmatic makes a conscious move beyond boom-bap as a solo artist.
"Keep Bouncing" is one of my favourite tracks off the album. Don't sleep on the video chica in the bookie visor either.
Rewind. A few other recent writeups for Exclaim!:
Pharaohe Monch - W.A.R.
Cunninlynguists - Oneirology
Raekwon - Shaolin Vs. Wu Tang
Lupe Fiasco - Lasers