DJ Butta & Talib Kweli – Wake Up

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Does anyone even know what Hip Hop is anymore? Dudes are claiming Hip Hop is dead, KRS and Marley say it’s alive. Most of the young cats think it lives in the South and East coast heads think everyone with a hit from the Southern hemisphere corrupted the essence of the best art form to come along in 30 years. According to my man DJ Butta “Wake Up” is supposed to cure those ills by giving you a taste of what commercial media sleeps on daily; conscious Hip Hop.

I hate using that term. It’s like labeling good R&B;, neo-soul. It’s the stupidest shit I’ve heard, but I confess, that I’m guilty of mouthing the words “back pack shit” while listening to Company Flow. With the emergence of Southern Hip Hop and the fact that I have a ton of it on my iPod, I’ve come to the conclusion that the true separation in Hip Hop should be good or bad music. I say this because, I love the premise behind “conscious Hip Hop”, but not all of that shit is hot either.

“Say Something” by Talib and Jean Grae had a familiar intro jacked from Lords of The Underground. Lyrically, Talib and Jean Grae are always a cut above the average gun clapper, but the spit of Rakim couldn’t save this track. “She So Fly” has that jazzy feel that’s a staple for the Native Tongue like mc’s and Kardinal could easily be a modern day member. Its easy listening and a track that I rewound. The “Classic (Butta Blend)” is a stand out joint, although the accapella veers off the beaten path around the time KRS grabs the mic. Kanye and Common are the new dynamic duo. Their music transcends the so called genre. It’s easy to understand why their albums are two of the most anticipated.

DJ Butta is swimming against the stream of bullshit that’s on your radio waves everyday. This isn’t the first cd of its kind and it won’t be the last, but nevertheless it was extremely playable and that’s all you can hope for with mixtapes currently. I’m looking forward to the next installment. There is a wealth of “true” mc’s on “Wake Up”; unfortunately it wasn’t very difficult to separate the stars from participants such as GLC. I love going against the norm, so that was a plus for me, but I’d like to see Butta surprise us and take some more chances on the next installment.