Tuesday, April 1, 2008


For those that don't know, I fell in love with hip hop when I was ten years-old. I know this is the famous Common Line from "I Used to Love Her", but I really did! My family had finally gotten cable, and although raised in a strict household where my brother and I weren't allowed to watch television during the week, I did have the gumption to occasionally sneak in one of my favorite music shows on cable, such as Video Soul or Rap City.

So picture it, Sicily 1932...no seriously, one afternoon, I am sitting at home chilling. Homework long done, because it had been a half-day for me. I even had the audacity to come straight home and get my chores done. My real plan was to hang out outside with some of my friends on the block, but Rap City, or rather hip-hop got in the way. My girlfriend that lived across the street never even met up with me that day. She was on punishment for some other infraction. So, I channel-flipped on our floor-model television and came across Rap City. About ten minutes into the show, they played "Paper Thin" by MC Lyte, and my life was forever changed. I can vividly remember anxiously awaiting to see that video again the very next day and taping it, so I could watch it to my heart's content. It wasn't that I had never listened to rap before, but this my friends was hip hop, raw and uncut. From that day on, I metamorphosed into somewhat of a preppy "B-Girl". A lot of my friends played the image to the tee.

I can recall the cutout baseball caps so they could fit their "natural-look" hair through the top. I can recall the unbelievably large jeans (I am guilty of this too), the backpacks (also guilty, although I rocked a Eddie Bauer), the pumas with no laces (I couldn't go that far), and the dark lipstick. I was probably the only girl in Chicago wearing a starched to perfection Catholic school uniform with a pair of bright purple Cross Color jeans and matching purple Air Max's underneath. I can recall attracting deep house dudes on the train, but once they saw I had a brain outside of hip hop, they didn't know what to do with me. But those were the days....Digable Planets, Lyte, Das Efx, Wu-Tang, Pharcyde, Souls of Mischief, Black Moon, De La Soul, The Jungle Brothers, L.O.N.S., A Tribe Called Quest....I could just inhale all of that great hip-hop I played endlessly on my walkman.

My parents knew something had happened. I wasn't asking for toys for Christmas anymore. Just music, a good discman, and more music. I still have some old-school vinyl, tapes and most of all memories of how I used to feel catching the red line and the #14 on my way home from school, listening to hip-hop during its golden era. That is what is missing in a lot of music today - THAT FEELING you get when you hear something so incredibly great and innovative it damn near takes your breath away. After about 1998, I didn't have that FEELING again until I purchased "Be" and sat in the car listening to it because I honestly didn't want to come off that hip-hop high! Well besides a few snippets of that wonderful euphoria, I happened across that FEELING again, when I stumbled upon the Foreign Exchange a few years back. As much as I like Little Brother, nothing they have done (even with 9th Wonder) has come close to "Connected". Every once in a while, an album will drop that will further change the course of a genre of music.

When Phonte of Little Brother came across a dope beat from an unknown producer on Okayplayer.com from the Netherlands named Nicolay, he decided to rhyme over it. Next thing you know, they started communicating via Instant Messenger, with Nicolay sending him beats, and Phonte sending the tracks back with dope rhymes and harmony-filled vocals, with appearances from Big Pooh and other members of the Justus League, the concept of an album came together. A surreal virtual-made record put together by two people who never met, and basically just communicated via the Internet.

If you don't have this album, stop what you're doing, go the store, get on Itunes, Okayplayer, wherever you get music...heck I would even be willing to share this great music. This is real hip hop, innovative, polished and introspective and laced with the kind of music to definitely give you that FEELING!

Although I have been bumping this for two years now...I had to share it for those who aren't up on it yet...

This Beat is Sick!

Love this track...

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