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Blakroc:the Black Keys Hip Hop Project

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http://www.theotherpaper.com/articles/2009/11/25/music/doc4b0db445332b9861348297.txt

 

 

Blakroc is a project produced by Ohio’s the Black Keys that features Rza, ODB, Raekwon, Mos Def, Jim Jones and several other hip-hop heavyweights. Dame Dash, who is responsible for discovering Kanye West, spearheaded the project.

 

 

 

The Blakroc album opens with “Coochie,” a Ludacris-ODB ode to attractive women with a proclivity toward causing addiction in males after physical interaction.

 

 

 

The rhyme scheme is very similar to Luda’s “What’s Your Fantasy?” and is delivered over a bombastic combination of Def Jam-style (circa 1988) drums backing a sitar-like guitar, so the production sounds like Rick Rubin meets Ron Browes of “Arab Money” fame.

 

 

 

It comes off as a hip-hop beat played with live instruments instead of a mash-up of two different styles of music—which makes sense, because the Keys do have hip-hop in their creative DNA. Their last album, Attack and Release, was produced by Danger Mouse.

 

 

 

The group has always maintained a Wu-Tang influence, so it’s not surprising that the Keys’ production on the Rza solo song “Keeps Telling Me Things” reeks of Liquid Swords’ aura. Rza, meanwhile, supplies Bobby Digital-style lyrics like, “I told her I was clone. There was prolly three of me.”

 

 

 

Fellow Wu member Raekwon’s contribution “Stay off the F’n Flowers” is stellar in its depiction of drug dealers going for theirs. The syncopated rhythm, augmented with driving bass, and middle-range melodies are perfect for stream-of-consciousness street rap.

 

 

 

Live instrumentation in hip-hop is a rare thing aside from the Neptunes and the Roots, and it could work to the Black Keys’ favor in the industry, because sample laws became super strict in 2004—which is perhaps the true reason why synth-driven club music has become the norm.

 

 

 

The aforementioned syncopation is obviously derived from the group’s blues background, so it’s surprising that Mos Def—a vocal critic of the appropriation of black music by groups like the Rolling Stones and Limp Bizkit—is in on the project.

 

 

 

Especially when it’s called Blakroc.

 

 

 

But good music is good music, and the TBK-Mos Def song “On the Vista” shimmers with Def echoing the anti-materialism, pro-spirituality sentiments of his hit song “My Umi.”

 

 

 

Perhaps Dame Dash’s involvement was another reason Mos Def set aside his apprehension toward white musicians playing black music. Mos Def has been in the media lately challenging Dash’s former business partner, Jay-Z, to emcee battle.

 

 

 

For those not super-informed on the business of rap, Dash and Jay-z developed Roc-a-fella Records and Roc-a-wear Clothing together. But Jay cut Dash out the picture in 2004.

 

 

 

Mos Def may look at his involvement as championing an underdog because this is Dash’s comeback attempt.

 

 

 

There are, by the way, no attacks on Jay-Z on the Blakroc album.

 

 

 

Who knows if the Black Keys will become major hip-hop producers. Whether they do or not, Blakroc has turned out to be one of the better hip-hop records to come out this year.

 

http://www.theotherpaper.com/articles/2009/11/25/music/doc4b0db445332b9861348297.txt

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I like the Black Keys, so I'll probably end up hearing this eventually since they didn't collaborate with Gucci Mane or Little Wayne.

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I really dig The Black Keys, haven't listened to it yet but sounds to me like it's not gunna deliver. Sometimes bands should just stick to their genre.

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I mean... it's not like they're not sticking to their genre, because all the beats are blues rock influenced. I think they did well with what they could on this album. I've seen way worse when someone tries to fuse two different sounds. I will say, I expected a lot more, but it's not too bad... give it a whirl.

 

http://www.blakroc.com/

 

If you're smart you'll figure out what i did there.

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I wonder what ABC has to say about the name...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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