DJ RP Beats
Rarely do I review albums these days because we have reached a stage of lethargy in the music industry. The lack of creativity and saturation has made it challenging to identify great artists and producers. Everyone "claims" to have a dope album or the project that will change the game, but very few live up to those boastful pleas. If I do decide to listen, critique, and engage an album, there are three stages in my process. The first stage is to listen for concepts, beats, hooks, etc. This is my general breeze-through to determine if this is even worth my time. The second time I listen, I am tuned into the quality of production, samples, punchlines, wordplay, subject matter, double and triple entendre, style, etc. If I truly like what I am hearing, there is a third and final stage, I put the music in the whip, and I ride! It is here where I am fully engaged and crank the music up to unbearable decimals, syncing the flow of the tracks with the flow of traffic as I weave in and out of lanes based on the aggressive basslines and witty wordplay. The speed reached on the odometer is solely the responsibility of the producer of the tracks being bumped! The scenery along the way becomes the cinematic backdrop used by each artist to paint a distinct picture in my mind with his or her ability to express through words what we are currently experiencing. The overall production serves as the blank canvas in which this art is truly displayed. If it all lines up, the journey into the album can be magical. "Master Elements" by DJ RP Beats meets all of these criteria, and then some!
This album has an early 90's vibration feel to it. If I had to equate it to anything modern, it would be Little Brother and 9th Wonder, who I think produced one of the most underrated albums in the history of Hip Hop with "Minstrel Show." This is not to suggest that Master Elements is not unique in its own right because it is, but when we talk about raw hip hop production with lyrics free of gimmicks or mumbling lines, this is what Hip Hop should sound like! You can tell what era DJ RP is from by the obscure samples and gritty drum patterns that accompany this entire project. Everything is cohesive in the sense that never is you forced to skip a track or wonder what was the producer thinking when the emcee starts to flow. The intro track "M.E.M" sets the tone for the entire album. The smooth keyboard riffs with a lyrical libation from Malcolm X, Farrakhan, and others elders that seems to be a direct message to this generation about the power that exists within their words and actions is more than fitting. Then Sincere Luv Da God happens! "Coming to America" introduces us to a master emcee who delivers a lyrical flow encoded with what a call the codex of Hip Hop. That vintage flow over a tantalizing track immediately demonstrates what school of rhyme Sincere is from. Entertaining and educating at the same time with lines like "it's deeper than rap, matter of fact, it's deeper than black, it's spiritual warfare, I'm just stating the facts" lets you know clearly that the God understands his duty as a civilized man. On track two called "Souljah Boy," Melvin Flint take us for a walk through the wilderness of the hood to teach the youth about what the streets are really about. A no holds barred attack on police brutality, the water supply, divide and conquer, etc. it's a call for real "souljahs" to step up and be accountable. One of my favorite tracks on this masterpiece is called " Soul Brother, featuring Terrance Love. This should be the new summertime anthem. The 90's feel on the track makes me think about cookouts and fun. Even in our struggle for equality, we need positive messages delivered over dope samples. The hook says it all "Ima true soul brother, cops on the roll and they movin undercover, I gotta get on I don't want no trouble, gotta stay strong just to get up out the gutter." This is every hood dwellers mission. T
"The Game" introduces us the what I call the project hallway flow of Speedy T Monsta. The track is stripped down to its very last compound with the left/right panning making you feel like Speedy's straightforward rhyme style surrounds you. This is the track and flow that brought me up to crazy speed on the highway! Speedy is a veteran emcee with something to say…and he says it like he might not get another chance. I love his aggressive attack on the youngins "frontin." It's all about the "game," and he's just trying to get that ring! The most cinematic track called "Dark Souls" is what I believe is the soundtrack to life for us in the hood. Absouljah's voice immediately captures the essence of Boom Bap Rap, and his message and rhyme schemes do not disappoint. "we livin life that we shouldn't live, bottom no future all kinds of bids, problems" is reflective of what the original man faces every day. DJ RP Beats architects the perfect beat filled with heavy bass and drums with just enough left over to let the God go in. The most telling part of this record is when Absouljah realizes that we have become our own worst enemy. This is one of my favorites. Other notable tracks on this offering that I feel are worth mentioning is "Illegal Dreamin' where once again, the master emcee Sincere reaches inner soul levels on this one, as well as ‘Art of War" by V Woods, who brilliantly displays a Wu Like flow and innerG that speaks to race soldiers, industry wars, street wars, patriot wars…even baby mama wars! "Problems" featuring Sincere and Speedy T, S Bell and Absouljah is this year's "Life a Bitch" by Nas and AZ! It's that good!
Overall, not only is this project worth it, it is necessary. While our culture is being highjacked by corporate entities who are not interested in preserving the culture, it falls on us to deliver projects that genuinely represent the true elements of our artform. I am not against our youth who are trying to find their way, and I think it should be imperative that they are taught the basic science of what rhyming and beat making is. This project is here to study, dance to, learn from, and inspire. DJ RP digs in the crates and has employed real emcees to move us forward by taking us back. There are no gimmicks, autotune, unnecessary violence, or disrespecting of our woman for the sake of shock value…it is not needed when real Hip Hop is present. Elements serve as a marker in time for those who truly want to participate in the art form as it was meant to be but don't want to delve too deep into the past to find traces of that blueprint. I love the fact that no one on this album tried to conform to what is hot at the moment, instead stayed true to what will always be hot, and that's ill beat-making and clever wordplay. It should be required for every young artist to master the "Elements"!
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The Black Dot is the author or the underground classic Hip-Hop Decoded, and his new book, Urban Culture Decoded.