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Why Do You Think They Call it Dope – July 2002

Posted by July 4th, 2003 No Comments »

Why Do You Think They Call it Dope?
Your Monthly Guide to Hip Hop’s Best

July 2002

By Hal Tiffany, Hip-Hop Editor

The Newest Latest:
Crimewave – “Opium Thoughts”
When you hear people talk about the existence of hip-hop groups who deliver intelligent and uplifting music that’s better than the stuff that goes platinum, Crimewave’s “Opium Thoughts” is exactly what they mean. The trouble is, few groups pull it of without sounding preachy or bringing boring, static beats. Here, Roc-Life’s production staves off that kind of boredom with an airy choral loop that sets a tone of importance and gives the lyrics – which are understandable, thought-provoking, and delivered smoothly into the overall mix – some added depth.

The Newest Latest:
Crimewave – “Opium Thoughts”
When you hear people talk about the existence of hip-hop groups who deliver intelligent and uplifting music that’s better than the stuff that goes platinum, Crimewave’s “Opium Thoughts” is exactly what they mean. The trouble is, few groups pull it of without sounding preachy or bringing boring, static beats. Here, Roc-Life’s production staves off that kind of boredom with an airy choral loop that sets a tone of importance and gives the lyrics – which are understandable, thought-provoking, and delivered smoothly into the overall mix – some added depth.

People Under the Stairs – “Suite for Beaver” ”
You wouldn’t know it by the name, but ‘Suite For Beaver (Part 2)’ is a more realistic approach to rappin’ about mackin’ the honies than any pop rap ditty on the same subject. You won’t hear any thonged hoochies backin’ it up in the Lac truck, but you will get a well-told linear narrative about a night of good mackin’ at the friendly neighborhood hip hop hang-out. P.U.T.S. paint a great picture of what a night at a hip-hop club should be: no beef with punks, just dancing with fly girlies and plenty of Long Island iced teas.

Masterminds – “Subliminal” ”
On ‘Subliminal,” the Masterminds drop a not-so-subliminal conspiracy theory: Pop culture messages control our thoughts and make us addicted to America’s favorite drug, consumption. It’s an assertion that rings close to home; thanks to the boob-tube I’ve been a functioning addict ever since Saturday morning cartoons. As for music, just give me some more of those spooky guitar loops with a little subversive anti-establishment rap and Public Enemy references and I’ll be aiht. Besides, rehab is for quitters!

Cocoa Brovaz – “Super Brooklyn”
If you’ve played as much Super Mario Brothers on the old school Nintendo as I have, you probably don’t even care about the Cocoa Brovaz’ crafty rhymes and halting delivery style. You’re just buggin on the fact that someone’s actually rapping over the jingle you couldn’t get out of your head for 2 years straight. “Super Brooklyn” has actually been out for about two years, but it makes this month’s list of current cuts because its recently been stuck in my stereo like Mario got stuck in my Nintendo back in ‘85. Did I miss the video with Mario and Luigi doing the cabbage patch dance outside Bowser’s Castle?

Scratch (From the Roots) – “That’s What we Talkin About”
Beatboxing has almost become a lost art – one that’s seemingly lacked innovation since about 1987- but on this year’s “That’s what we Talkin’ About” Scratch takes the beat box to a whole ‘nother level. He’s got amazingly realistic scratching sounds, and beats and basslines that sound clear and modern compared to the kind Doug E. Fresh, Biz, and Buffy made so popular back in the day.

Son Doobie – “Reinstated”
Like the song says, Son Doobie ‘comes together and hits you with the shit that’s unexpected.’ Unexpected because the word Doobie (as in Funkdoobiest, Son’s former group) doesn’t exactly make you anticipate energetic head banging beats and a driving chorus. Although professed to be underground, their sound still has a definite ‘pop-hook’ feel. If they just had a million or so dollars to blow on marketing and radio payola they’d be rappin’ about iced-out watches and buckets of Cristal in no time.

Idiot Proof – “B-Boy Contortionist”
I usually don’t dig on instrumentals, but I’ll make an exception for this quick-changing, b-boy style scratch fest that’s chock full of old-school samples. “B-Boy Contortionist” comes off the Revenge of the B-Boy Compilation, Volume 2. Anyone remotely fond of the B-Boy/Breakdancing scene shouldn’t miss either volume of this great compilation.

Power Bar Ernie – “Gimme the Digits”
Ernie’s ‘Power Bar’ has got to be a phallic thang, because “Gimme the Digits” has got more dick-sized jokes and metaphors than a Howard Stern Son of the Beach double-header. And like Stern, most of his jokes are pretty funny despite being juvenile. The “I get the paper so I don’t care” sample from Milk D in the intro is a great introduction to Power Bar Ernie’s attitude, which comes through loud and clear in his lyrics. The funny and bugged-out rhymes seem to flow easier when an MC just doesn’t care what we think of him.

Old School Pick of the Month:

Run-DMC – “Rock Box”
If there’s any chance you missed the VH1 specials that have recently been running five times a day… RUN-DMC ARE, AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN, THE KINGS OF ROCK! Here’s their simple secret: being the Kings of Rock is all about rockin’ the mic. Unlike many of today’s pretenders, Run and D didn’t have to depend on pure volume and guitar aggression to carry their song. Well-phrased but simple rhyme routines delivered with force and attitude in front of guitars (and not behind them) is all it took. With that simple yet brilliant formula ‘Rock Box’ was THE first rap and rock record, period, and it paved the way for the entire genre.


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