20060410

Know What I Mean?

Keak Da Sneak: Scarface Dust
Keak Da Sneak: Superhyphy
Keak Da Sneak [ft. Hollis & Eklips The Hustla]: Get That Doe
Kunta Kinte

As experiental movements continue to evolve, and regions (Atlanta, Houston, The Bay, soon Cleveland or Reno or Phoenix) stake claims on chart dominance, the shuffle lost in the big dance is obvious: metropolises are getting pawned. Obviously, the populace at large thinks that when something good happens to Bonecrusher or Z-Ro or Mistah F.A.B., that thing is good for the region they rep. Not necessarily the case. Short term, sure. Paper stacks rise quicker than average and fame grows. Minimal outsider fame, with a one-sheet in Vibe and an allhiphop.com interview. But I guess fame is for the famous. Long term, it distends a city's viability. Now, when folks think TX. rap, they think swangers, lean and diamond teeth. Forget humanity, we're codifying culture! Houston's pigeonholed, plain and simple and the Bay is next. Just because 15 or 35 rappers ride donuts and shake dreads doesn't mean an entire city does so. So MTV's "My Block" and the hordes of culture-micro-trend-think-thought-thank pieces in every mag across the land conflates a scene with a culture. Don't get it twisted: this is no call for mealy-mouthed "safe" voices. More a firing squad set up for the reportage. Hard to say what DJ Screw's influence will be in the long run. But, ya know, there was a time when Haight-Ashbury had it poppin'. Those dudes are fossilized remnants now. Queensbride, too, right? Heh. Sad if the same were to happen in these cities. Who's to blame? Surely the media and short-sighted ad-sales mind frame; and the artist that allows him or herself to be marginalized by these pieces; and the greedy, thoughtless publicists and managers that force the issue; and the listener, the "outsider," looking for a tidy package and a new slang term to throw at their parents. Still, that Keak Da Sneak really is something!

Rather than get reductive and lavish with the "His voice sounds like he gargles Beelzebub's balls every morning and washes it down with a side of molten feces" faux-descriptive hyperbole, let's just say Keak has an unorthodox sound. Thing is, he's also just like any other rapper; voice begets persona, persona begets stardom, stardom begets ridiculous adjectives. Proof's positive on this site. Keak knows exactly what I'm saying: "You can call it Bay shit, but I'm just speaking for the town, East Oakland." Oddly, Kunta Kinte is more interested in diversifying local investments, bragging about "going ghetto gold" (50,000 sold) and generally doing him, if that isn't too vague. There's no outlying sub-culture nonsense. Just the records. Though we've crafted a blurb or three in our day, we don't like it. Not when Keak doesn't care, obviously. "Get That Doe" samples "Brickhouse" for heaven's sake. And it actually works. Like Lionel Richie says, it's just music, my friend. But it's not just music. "Superhyphy," which was "Tell Me When To Go" when Lil Jon was still wearing short pants, is O.G. status even though it's like a year old. But there I go again attempting to correlate a song with some sort of movement. The reason "Superhyphy" is exponentially better than "Tell Me" is because there's no affectation. It's not a history lesson or some speak-n-spell shit. It knocks, sure, but it doesn't have to involve "wild, frenetic dancing" and "wonderful displays of regional pride by way of 'Ghostriding' one's own vehicle" for it to be important. EVERYBODY I WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH DID DONUTS IN ABANDONED PARKING LOTS. How about some analytical reading that isn't extra-musical. Oh shit...pot meet kettle, what's hatnin'?