On occasion myself and some of my friends get lumped into a category we laughingly refer to as “classicist grump” due to our vocal preference of pre-crunk Hip-Hop and our rants about “the good ol’ days” and how it was so much better way back when. Fortunately for us, we are not alone in this feeling so there is a neo-nineties movement strewn all throughout modern Hip-Hop. However, though there is a lot of music that’s a throwback to that time, it’s extremely rare to come across something new that’s actually from that era. Well, the Hip-Hop gods have decided to smile upon us in the form of the now defunct Milwaukee Hip-Hop group known as Stranj Child (formerly Stranj Fruit) and Dope Folks Records teaming up to release previously unreleased music recorded between 1994 and 1996 as an EP…on vinyl!
The mid to late 30’s mindset that I carry around in my very out of shape 28-year-old body is giddy with the joy most 10 year olds exhibit after being let loose in a Chuck E. Cheese for the afternoon. Now in the same way that a child prays his favorite game is wide open to plug with tolkens for hours of continuous enjoyment, I’m doing the same with this EP…praying that it is good and spin-again worthy.
The Hip-Hop gods answer me once again in the way that I wanted…this EP is completely fantastic.
The sound of the album is very much a kin to what you’d expect from East Coast rap around the mid-nineties and it very much in the same vein of Jeru the Damaja’s Wrath of the Math, The Fugees’ The Score (minus the female emcee and singing), KRS-ONE’s KRS-ONE, so on and so forth.
The lyrics are dripping with cultural critiques, metaphysical concepts, spiritually, and a pro-black consciousness, that seeks to deal with the after effects of the crime spike within the African-American communities brought about by the upswing of drug use/availability, etc. Many people outside of Milwaukee…and maybe even the younger generation of Milwaukeeans…might not know that Milwaukee has a very violent history and this project serves as a snapshot of a generation and it’s issues that Milwaukee has always done it’s best to sweep under the rug.
The beats are old school hardcore and they completely match the delivery and the content being laced over them. They will definitely get your head nodding and you might even catch yourself doing old school gestures as your listen to them…dare I say, you might even break out a B-boy stance or pose? Yes, I do dare to say it, because you just may.
It’s rather confounding to know that this could’ve held up well against any other release during that time, and that it didn’t come out until now. It also makes me think about what a full length would’ve been like, even though the 8 tracks on the EP are pretty damn full themselves. You don’t get any of the vinyl left on the table on this release.
This is completely worth your purchase and speaking of purchase, you can buy the album from Dope Folks Records by going RIGHT HERE. Information about the release party happening this Saturday can be found RIGHT HERE.
My favorite songs on the EP are “Split Personality” and “S.O.D.I.S.” and I have them right here for you to stream and enjoy, hopefully as much as I do.
Split Personality –