Wild Style Wednesday Review: Blue Scholars, Bayani
I think the first time I heard about Blue Scholars was in Spin Magazine or a similar publication. I recall the memory because I was reading a review of their album Bayani. The review that I read was highly favorable, and naturally I wanted to see what the hype was all about. Prior to buying the album, I had never really listened to any artists from Seattle. I mean I knew West Coast Hip-Hop was dope, just not this dope. Bayani is one of my favorite albums I’ve picked up over the last couple years. I’ve been listening to this album a great deal since I found out about it, and to be put quite simply, it never gets old.
Sabzi is a part of the Baha’i religion, so it only makes sense to start off the album with a “Baha’i Healing Prayer”. The music perfectly fades into the track “Second Chapter”, which features a beautiful concoction of noise filled with horns, synths, and an array of other sounds courtesy of Sabzi. Geo gets things started off right, “Now from the longest to the shortest 24 in a year/from the verses to the chorus you’ve been longing to hear/the talk, story transmitted through verses, we persevered/we the presently last and future first from the spear/to the slingshot, we rock upon the solid rock of granite/we stand over the plan to hold the weapon with the fist and heal it with an open hand”. Geo comes out firing like a gun on the track “Opening Salvo”, “Uhh, now, it’s the opening salvo/where po’s scope the people like Muhammad and Malvo/a sample of the battle we waged against an animal/made to snuff us out like the wick of a candle/and all the youth dressed in camo,we’re ready to handle/and no this war was not scripted/we can’t change the channel/we’re canceling all subscriptions/this is the last issue/when the casket’s closed you can’t take the cash with you”.
Sabzi’s powerful plethora of horns create a perfect uptempo beat for the track “North By Northwest”, and Geo spits some hungry verses about where they reside. On the track “Ordinary Guys”, Sabzi’s piano loop provides a great backdrop for Geo to explain, that although the Scholars are dope as hell, they’re just like you and me. Geo makes it clear on “Still Got Love”, that even if you’ve done him wrong somehow he’s still gonna show love, “You might have owed me cash/or put my shit on blast/or talk behind my back/and I still got love”. The track “Fire For The People” is surely one of the highlights on the album. Sabzi’s piano and synth heavy beat is very ominous, and Geo kicks some liquid lines, “Now what I spit, it’s medicine for the sick/an attempt to get a grip before it all starts to slip/and be the call and response from the bottomless pit/I remain nonchalant when the drama get thick/the last call, ballin’ up my palm in a fist…” and, “Yo, I’ve seen souls get sold so coldly/seen what a dollar can do to the tired and true/I speak boldly, composed of a melody told/whenever we hold the memory close”.
There is probably a two way tie for my favorite track on this album. “Morning of America” is an awesome track that has a beautiful uptempo beat from Sabzi, and it features Geo reminiscing about trends that the United States has progressed through. There are so many pop culture references in “Morning of America” that it will leave your head spinning, and the track also features one of my favorite lines, “…but VH1 never played Hip-Hop at all/how the fuck they be the ones givin’ Hip-Hop Awards?”. The other track I speak of as a favorite is “Joe Metro”, which features a nice piano loop and moaning vocal samples in the background courtesy of Sabzi. Geo really elevates his story telling abilities in this track, and his rhymes are so vivid, you can almost close your eyes and imagine the picture he is painting.
Bayani is an album that only comes along once in a great while. These guys embody everything that a Hip-Hop duo should be, super dope beats and super dope rhymes. If you haven’t ever heard of Blue Scholars, do yourself a favor and get the album Bayani, it’s one of the best albums in the last 3 years.
9 Coffee Shops out of 10