Big Daddy Kane “I’ll Take You There” Remix
Del The Funkee Homosapien “Sunny Meadowz”
Digable Planets “Escapism (Gettin’ Free)”
Keith Murray “Escapism”
Pete Rock & CL Smooth “Take You There”
The BUMS “Elevation (Free Your Mind)”
Siah & Yeshua “Cure For Stagnation”
All Natural “The Renaissance”
Hip Hop is a rewarding, welcoming genre. Contrary to the reductive logic of popular belief, rap teems with distinctive personalities. Endearing idiosyncrasies abound even if vapid conformity rules. Materialism and debauchery are counterbalanced by voices that emphasize authenticity or spirituality. The personal and competitive nature of emceeing allows a wide spectrum of perspectives and a veritable cast of characters to emerge.
As rap fans we never want for explicit expression. Even rappers that dabble in contemplative or surrealist poetics deliver their messages with conviction. Rakimâ€™s deadpanned intergalactic voyages on 1988â€™s â€œFollow The Leaderâ€ foreshadow a generation of rappers who portray themselves as street level metaphysicians. Itâ€™s a peculiar, compelling performance exemplified by Nasâ€™ impassioned declaration that he â€œrepresents the thinkersâ€ with a stream of consciousness freestyle thatâ€™s â€œfloating like Iâ€™m on the North 95 Interstateâ€ on 1994â€™s â€œOne Time 4 Ya Mind.â€
Freely associative rapping has long been equated to a mental journey towards enlightenment, a move towards alterity, something beyond inner-city boundaries. Rapâ€™s â€œvisionary strand,â€ (identified by Robin Kelley in Freedom Dreams) embraces a â€œpolitics of escapeâ€ rooted in the spacey excursions of Sun Ra and Parliament/Funkadelic and is quite diverse. The â€œthinkersâ€ have run the gamut from KRS-Oneâ€™s no-nonsense prophet of rage to the Native Tongueâ€™s Afrocentric partygoers. It is in this spirit that I present todayâ€™s Figure Eight compilation, titled Transcendence.
BDKâ€™s â€œIâ€™ll Take You Thereâ€ upgrades The Staple Singersâ€™ churchy utopianism into a package more palatable to youths attracted to Five Percenter and Zulu Nation ideologies. In his estimation, the temporary highs of vice cannot compare to the blissful state one enters by attaining wealth logically and responsibly. Escapism is an oddly realist agenda applicable in the here and now. We shouldn’t need Scotty to “beam us up,” via glass pipes when we already blessed with the capacity to build anything we can imagine, right?
Where BDK insists “I’m not playin’ what I’m sayin’ is reality,” Del revels in psychadelic playfulness. Also disdainful of crime and disorder, he remedies apprehensiveness with a voyage to an enchanted verdant wonderland where tranquil open-mindedness cancels out the dreariness of ghetto life. Similarly, the ever-fanciful Keith Murray self-medicates misanthropic bouts with blunted trips to Mars that reaffirm his belief in the transcendent power of the human mind.
Digable Planets embrace the language of psychadelica while locating liberation in music itself. Pete Rock & CL Smooth implore listeners to do the same over a loop of “Rising To The Topâ€ that stays true to its dancefloor-tailored groove. The BUMS find refuge from an unfeeling industry in the very ethics of creative production. Siah & Yeshua consolidate these viewpoints with a Thoreauvian twist, inspired by the real beauty of their native Brighton Beach. Finally, All Naturalâ€™s Capital D, in awe of high-brow surroundings in Hyde Park, Chicago and its view of Lake Michigan, is reassured that he has a place in a continuum of cultural rebirth spanning back to at least 1920s Harlem.
Listen up, check it. — Thun
Download “Figure 8 Transcendence” in one convenient file: http://www.mediafire.com/file/iyizmynqzmm/Figure Eight Transcendence.rar