Hip Hop Geniuses

Genius refers to a person, a body of work, or a singular achievement of surpassing excellence. More than just originality, creativity, or intelligence, genius is associated with achievement of insight which has transformational power. A work of genius fundamentally alters the expectations of its audience. Although difficult to quantify, genius refers to a level of aptitude, capability or achievement which exceeds even that of most other exceptional contemporaries in the same field.

Under consideration that it is strongly a stereotype, but in soooo many cases a reality, it HAS to count for something that most hiphop artists come up against so many obstacles in their “hoods” to get a shot at being center stage and putting their thoughts on records. They should be generally more talented and more clever than your regular homie to be “make it”. But let’s break it down to pin point our “exceptional contemporary” hiphop geniuses.

Sadly by todays standards, a good percentage of hiphop artists are more creative marketing than creative talent, which just makes it easier to sift through whats left to locate the virtuosos.

The hardest part is agreeing on who deserves the title. I know half of y’all are thinking about André 3000, while the other half are torn between looking for some underground underdog that deserves the mention, like J Dilla, or some crazy motherfucka like ODB.

I am just gonna highlight one this time. There is one person in hiphop that abso-fuckin-lutely does his own deep sometimes-highly-political-sometimes-just-playing lyrics, his own perfectly sung hooks, his own funky beats, his own amazing jazz keys, sometimes his own album covers.. and sheeeit, he has so much talent in his own persona that he ends up inventing other personalities to invent more!!

Hip Hop world. I present to you the GENIUS: SHOCK G.

Here’s a list of shit that he’s done:

– Created a crew. Born Leader! what other MC has created a crew of MC’s, Dj’s, Dancers, Top Notch Producers and weed carriers. We can’t leave out the fact that due to his eye and ear for talent, he helped put Tupac on the map. Not a small thing. Quite a few MC’s and groups from the DU crew got a chance to do something bigger for themselves: Tupac, Raw Fusion, Gold Money, Saafir and quite a few more affiliates.

– Was head producer in charge of the D.U. sound, and although some people might not recall it, Shock was all over the Funk samples, digging DEEP waaaay before any G Funk was coming out, waaaaay before sampling Parliament was the norm.

– Speaking of samples, he was sample chopping before anyone else. OK, this is just my theory and I would love to be right, but if anyone can come strong with proof of the otherwise, then I will just give him this title. He was chopping up samples while Primo was just learning to lace samples over beats.

– He drew all those funky comics throughout D.U.’s history as the artist “Rackadelic”

– this one is amazing: he played tons of keyboards but always credited as “The Piano Man”, with Raw Fusion even doing a toe-to-toe song with him called “Rockin to the P.M.” Also on Doowutchyalike, The Piano Man has a crazy break where he plays a collection of famous songs, but only one compass of each one. I contacted him on Myspace a while back just to ask him what songs he played. I said, “I got PE’s Black Steel, BDP’s Bridge is Over, and a few more.. but please tell me which other ones were played”. He answered: “Funkadelic- All Your Goodies Are Gone, Do ya Wanna-Al B Sure, Bob James (forgot the name of the song, but it’s also part of Jazzy Jeffs famous instrumental scratch record), the beat to “Jane” by EPMD. I think that’s it.” But also, there is another piano break on the “Raw Fusion” Remix too.

Piano Man Solos:

Doowutchyalike – RAW FUSION REMIX:

Doowutchyalike – Original

– and the most noticeable, biggest thing Shock G brought into the world of music was his presentation of Edward Ellington Humphrey III, former lead singer of “Smooth Eddie and the Humpers,” who only became a rapper after burning his nose in a kitchen accident with a deep-fryer, aka HUMPTY HUMP.

– He had many alter-egos so that he could justify his multiple personality disorder, beside the obvious Humpty Hump, who was even bigger than Shock G himself!, he also rapped under the name of MC Blowfish whenever he needed to rhyme “under water”. He even did the “The Computer Woman”, the female voice announcements that appear on a quite a few tracks, including Doowutchyalike.

I don’t think any person deserves such a title as Genius, but Shock has earned it over the years of putting out high quality productions. I know I got a few other names that need the “Genius” initials to along side of it.

— Cenzi Stiles

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16 Responses to “Hip Hop Geniuses”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yeah! Definetly. I was not a fan of D.U. b/c it was too much more than Hip-Hop to young me. But now (30+) i'm the fan of his artistic imaginations. Genious!


  2. Anonymous says:

    In total agreement.Shock G is so underated. Got all the DU albums plus his solo album. Good to see him getting some recognition.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I absolutely agree, Shock G & DU are very underrated and always seem to be forgotten in 'golden era'- lists etc.
    Also lyricswise they were way ahead of time!
    Diggin out my DU records right now!

    great piece Cenzi Stiles

  4. Anonymous says:

    didn't know he drew those funny comics and als was the pianoman. I always loved that paiano solo on Doowutchyalike', only got the 'bridge is over
    all those references in a pianosolo on a hiphopsong
    in the early 90's???
    how genius is that?

    I recently saw they're documentary, sad to hear tjey're last album that didn't live up to they're name..

  5. Anonymous says:

    I quiet clearly hear Soul II Soul's classic Back To Life (However Do You Want Me) and Eric B's Follow The Leader in there (Doowutchyalike – Original)!

    What did I win? 🙂

  6. Cenzi Stiles says:

    you win a Big Brown Nose!!

  7. Maestroken says:

    Don't forget the Shock G – Live at Laff Hole videos on youtube. Shock and a keyboard at a comedy club.

  8. spitler says:

    great post.. nowhere near enough people give shock the props he deserves..

  9. Jaz says:

    Great post,l have been a DU fan for a long time and I had no idea that Shock was the Piano Man.

    Props Cenzi.

  10. SL says:

    What make you say he was the Computer Woman ?

  11. Cenzi Stiles says:

    in an interview with STOP BeING FAMOUS he says

    "As "The Computer Woman", I did the female voice announcements on "Underwater Rhymes", "Doowutchyalike", and "Sex Packets."

    BTW, GREAT interview overthere: http://www.stopbeingfamous.com/past-interviews/shock-g

  12. Anonymous says:

    Dope, shock is definately a genius, also if any body hasnt checked his solo Fear Of A Mixed Planet , go get that today!!! Definately a slept on classic all with dope shock production.

  13. jeffluv says:

    Sons of the P was the first CD I ever bought and I treasure it to this day

    loved loved loved DU, pretty much Shock that introduced me to P Funk…coupla years later I was wilding out at a Bootsy's Rubber Band show, one of the best experiences of my life

    I didnt realise he was Pianoman AND Rackadelic too lol damn

    one thing, he was chopping samples before Paul C? maybe, I could believe anything of Shock G but Im a little dubious about that one

  14. Anonymous says:

    Post from France where I used to enjoy Digital Underground sound and rap. As we say in Frecnh " c'était vraiment du bon son … ça reste encore du bon son" ("It really used to sound very good … it remains good")

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