That is what I used to say years ago. We’ve all done it, right? Writing off a rapper before even giving them a shot. In hip-hop it’s way too easy (and fun) to discriminate, to the point it’s to be expected. This is how we sift out the insignificant, the insufficient and the imitators. While the light was dimming on the Golden Era, the indie tide starting rippling. Ever since hip-hop began, the indie movement has always been prevalent. But it wasn’t until the mid 90s where we suddenly witnessed the effects Al Gore had on us. When sites such as HipHopsite had us refreshing for their News On The DL or when Ed and his mother would take their lackadaisical approach at fulfilling our orders at Sandboxautomatic, we were married to the internet. Many groups came and went by ways of the internet. The outlet was not only substantial, but it allowed anyone with an ounce of aspiration to partake in our culture.
For many of us, we grew up in a distinguish era with a familiar sound. Not everybody could get us open like Black Moon. There is a difference in being observant and being tolerant. I knew what was talking place, I just had no interest in entertaining it. I came from a time where rappers looked a certain way, played a certain way and spoke a certain way. Call it complacent, I call it comfort.
Suddenly more and more rappers that didn’t fit that mold were overshadowing the music I grew up listening to. In the late 90s you had various chat rooms, whether it was AOL, Prodigy or the infamous IRC that helped contribute to many careers such as J-Live, Apathy, Living Legends, Mad Skillz or even Anticon. God I hated Anticon and for no real reason either. They looked funny. They all seemed effeminate, smug and more importantly eccentric just for the sake of being it. Maybe I did myself a disservice by never giving them a shot. Today I have absolutely no ill will towards them, I even think Jel is an exceptional producer (see below) and Sole is a good writer.
Still I refused to succumb to what I grew up on, what I expected the music to be. It wasn’t a white or black thing as much as I’m making it sound. I just had very little patience for what I believed to be contrived. When I look back at what I did accept at that time such as Non Phixion or Jedi Mind Tricks , I cringe when some of their music pops up in my iPOD.
Growth! That is what happened. I grew as a person, matured, became more impartial and less adversative. So what does this have to do with Slug? I’ll tell you–Slug is actually a throwback to the emcees I came up with. A rapper who has studied every Cold Chillin’ release ever in existence. In the late 90s you had many complex lyricists, it didn’t matter if you graduated DeVry or Dartmouth you just weren’t deciphering everything they were spitting.
Layered jargon, inexplicable multis and just perplex production. You had Aesop Rock, Company Flow, Dr. Octagon or Vakill to name a few favorites.
Then you had rappers with a more simplistic approach, not simple raps, an approach that was gratifying and allowed you to ride shot-gun while they did their storytelling. Slug is that rapper. He doesn’t receive enough credit for his writing ability but if you delve in to some of his work you’ll understand exactly what I’m saying. A throwback emcee who’s blueprint was mapped out by such rappers like Big Daddy Kane and G. Rap for fathering that style. This long winded diatribe isn’t so much about Slug than is about admitting your own mistakes, growing old and thinking twice before you quickly write-off the next emcee because of their association, race or residency. The Golden Era ain’t happening ever again, we need to turn the page and see what hip-hop has (or had) to offer that we may have missed.
Here are some tracks to get you “open.” Thanks for reading this
slobfest rant, it was probably more cathartic than it was informative but I do hope some of you rediscover music you can now enjoy. –Philaflava
Road To The Riches