Guess what? Our next president, the leader of the free world, the single most powerful person on the planet, is a fan of hip-hop. And hip-hop is a fan of his. Many of our leading artists contributed their talent and influence to help change the direction of our government, and it paid off.

Big props to those local hip-hop movers and shakers who put it down for the Obama campaign, including Ill Holiday (of DaFilled), Audio Reconnaissance and DJ Indiana Jones. Their events helped raise money and awareness from the primaries through to the general election.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Obama victory is the effect this will have on children. No longer is the ultimate image of success for a young man a rapper or a ballplayer. Now, a young African-American who loves to read might not be accused of “acting white.” He might see more clearly the power his words hold. He might understand that bringing people together is infinitely more powerful than tearing them apart.

Does this mean the end of anti-intellectualism in mainstream hip-hop music? No, but it is a step in the right direction. And it is the youngest people, the ones who were not even old enough to vote this time around, who will be affected most.

This will pay off for years to come. We were holding our breath so long, Indiana turned blue.


Local disc gist

The Dirty Thirty

The Dirty Thirty — Dave Justis, J.P., Scott and DJ Spools — are a relatively new to the scene four-man crew from Indianapolis. Their unassuming names are a good indication of their general attitude. In lieu of the typical boast rhymes are honest, personal stories of everyday struggle that are easy to relate to. Musically, the group lives up to its name. Dirty vinyl loops settle into the pockets of simple drum patterns, putting a nice emphasis on the rappers’ voices. As one verse states, this “sample-based music that we get through digging records” has a golden age feel and a DJ Premier vibe. The beats could definitely use some beefing up and extra layering, though, and a better mixing job would increase the head-nod factor tremendously.

My favorite track, “Still Down,” would fit in on the Pharcyde’s first album. Kelsey Smith, of SouLove Universe, lends her smoky voice to great effect on the hook as the emcees reminisce.

The rhymes are effective but could benefit from a dose of complexity now and then, and a bit more passion or variety in the delivery.

Overall, the album is an enjoyable listen, and the instrumental interludes keep it moving along nicely. Solid hip-hop from a well-versed crew.

Red Bus

Self-titled EP

Pattern Hungry Records

This is a moody disc bent on bending genres. With beats built on contemporary alternative pop samples like Feist and Fiona Apple, often with hooks lifted from those very songs, the tracks come close to being remixes rather than original works. But some creative sample chopping, arranging and drum programming helps give these compositions a life of their own.

But the real stars of this record are the rhymers. Straddling the line between abstract and confessional, complex multisyllabic rhyme patterns pepper most of the verses and keep the songs engaging throughout. For the most part, the emcees match the somber tone of the music while remaining energetic.

The group consists of producer/emcee Dedflower, The Observer and, from Twin Monster, Lorax and Yeti-one. It’s been released under the performers’ Pattern-Hungry Records label, with each disc containing original art. Future releases under the Red Bus moniker will supposedly feature a rotating roster of rappers.

Sonically, this is a very well recorded and mixed venture. Perhaps as a bypass to sample clearance, or a way to get their name out there, they are giving this CD away free at shows and on their Web site. So why not check it out?

P.S. If you consider yourself a dope freestyler or producer, e-mail me your info, and I’ll get you involved with some upcoming stories.



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