20060412

Floe Already

Edgar Allen Floe: Skyward
Floe Almighty: The Chronicles of Edgar Allen Floe

Far be it from Stack Grundles to dog undie labels, but Shaman Work sorta has it coming. Why and how they exist is answered in the wallowing mystique of Doom’s mask Essentially, we know why SW exists; it's all part of Metal Fingers’ hyper-productive largesse. Yes, they signed C.L. Smooth and Lacks is nice, but Wale Oyejide? Scienz of Life? Emanon? Just give in to Koch already.

So fitting that the hut trashes EAF this week after slaying Rick Ross and Sr. Santana, but I’m still scratching my head as to why independent artists aren’t churning out more unreleased material. So hats off for SW for pushing Edgar Allen Floe’s forthcoming Streetwise via Floe Almighty. But why isn’t this a permanent part of undie’s marketing strategy? Artists on these labels tend to have less high-powered label drama that drowns their releases in the abyss (again, less), so the option is still there in a big way. DJ Drama will cosign anything, so why not put together more fodder for mix hut residents?

To be fair, eNCees tend to do it better. The Justus League punched out like a dozen NC State of Mind, Halls of Justus, and Just Us bootlegs with perhaps the only intention of drilling names like Joe Scudda and L.E.G.A.C.Y. into the backpacker subconscious. Don't even get the our 19th President started on 9th Wonder...

So here's the thing that kills me. The Justus League has been riding this whole "minstrel show," step your game up language for a minute now, but there isn't a single emcee in that whole crew (save Phonte & Pooh's Listening verses) who's ever demonstrated I should pay attention.

Floe is a classic case. (It's amazing how narrow undie hip-hop can be. "Influenced by artists as diverse as Rakim to Common" his bio reads. Really? Maybe one kufi size difference between the two as far the total breadth of music goes.) Your whole steez is wordsmithing. That's why I'm supposed to look to you and keep the radio off. You're supposed to make me remember that underground emcees have the same talent as their popular peers. Instead, I get faux-inspirational slight-of-hands like: "To stand out, you must outstand" and "Time to bust out the cage" and "I used to hold back." These are all well and good for HS guidance counselors, but don't expect me to give up the next Clipse mixtape to pop another mediocre NC rapper into the deck.