Rhyme&Review: Blakroc

30 11 2009

Who?

Dame Dash loves The Black Keys. Loves ’em. Like a rap kid loves breaks. So he decided “Fuck it, let’s see if they’ll make a hip-hop album.” The Back Keys were open to the idea, so Blakroc was formed. Next, Dame needed rappers.

So Dame went and got Ludacris, Billay Danze (of M.O.P. fame), Jim Jones, NOE, Mos Def, Nicole Wray, Ol’ Dirty Bastard (Well, kind of, because, you know, he’s dead and shit), Pharoahe Monch, Q-Tip, RZA, and Raekwon to help him make it.

Blakroc

Judging from the guest list, it’s pretty easy to see that this is a quintessential New York hip-hop album, and the sound from The Black Keys really extrapolates that idea. I can hear this thing being huge with New Yorkers, and I don’t know shit about New Yorkers.

As far as the music itself, three of the rappers really separated themselves from the rest of the guests: NOE, Mos Def and Jim Jones. All three are present on multiple tracks, and it’s pretty obvious why, because their songs are definitely the best of the bunch.

NOE sounds like a carbon copy of Jay-Z sonically, like someone Xerox’d Jigga’s voice. It’s a gift and a curse I suppose, but it’s really eerie how similar they sound. Irony, Dame? Mos Def showcases his flexibility as a rapper and a singer (and has thrust himself to the top of the list of “The best singing rappers”), but Jim Jones really showed something that I was blown away by.

In “Ain’t Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo)”, he raps abotu some real shit, and his delivery complements his words and the music perfectly. Literally perfectly. Take this little nugget: “And when you get the cash that only shows you how to sin / Like when you gettin’ fast money and you blow it in the wind”. It’s shows a refreshing, introspective side to someone that most people only know as “that guy that hangs out with Juelz Santana”.

“Love, I bruised one of her rose petals / She was from the concrete and came up out the cold ghetto”. I dig it. The idea of hurting a girl you loved by saying you bruised her petals? That’s good rapping right there.

“Being humble’s a hard quality to achieve / when you’re ego’s crazy with no modesty”. Some people might say that’s a standard rap line, one where the emcees is simply stating he can’t be humble. But when Jim Jones did it, he made it sound like he wished he was humble. Again, refreshing. I’ve never been a Jim Jones fan, but he did work on this one.

So What Now?

Blakroc proved that hip-hop and rock can not only coexist together, they can thrive together. Sure it’s not the first time we’ve seen this type of success — Jay-Z and Linkin Park pulled it off, KiD CuDi claims his next album will be with Ratatat — but this might be the most genuine example. This wasn’t a mash-up, this was a collaboration in every sense of the word.

Let’s hope when rock and rap do decide to integrate, it sounds more like this and less like Weezer and Lil Wayne.

Blakroc – Blakroc

1. Coochie (feat. Ludacris & Ol’ Dirty Bastard) – ★★★
2. On the Vista (feat. Mos Def) – ★★★
3. Hard Times (feat. NOE) – ★★★
4. Dollaz and Sense (feat. Pharoahe Monch & RZA) – ★★★
5. Why Can’t I Forget Him? (feat. Nicole Wray) – ★★★
6. Stay off the Fuckin’ Flowers (feat. Raekwon) – ★★★
7. Ain’t Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo) (feat. Mos Def & Jim Jones) – ★★★
8. Hope Your Happy (feat. Billy Danze, Nicole Wray & Q-Tip) –
★★★
9. Telling Me Things (feat. RZA) –
10. What You Do to Me (feat. Billy Danze, Jim Jones & Nicole Wray) – ★★★
11. Done Did it – (feat. NOE & Nicole Wray) – ★★★

Blakroc Total ★: 31
Blakroc ★ Ratio: 2.81

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