Dec 23, 2009

The CounterParts - Rhymes, Beats, Friends & Family

2:08 PM

The CounterParts : Self-Titled LP

Sometimes when I wonder off to music land, I get lost in the quagmire of mash-ups, nursery school rhymes/overused snare drum loops & auto-tuned vocals. This leaves me in a discombobulated state, which makes me wonder, where has real hip-hop gone? When I listened to The CounterParts debut LP, a thought bubble appeared above my head which said "Oh, there it is". This is accompanied with a "I missed you" grin from my ears and mouth.

The group's self-titled LP is a refreshing sound of hip-hop which brings me back to the golden age of hip-hop / late 80's - early 90's. The CounterParts is in the same mold as Hieroglyphics, Native Tongues, Visionaries, and the LA Good Life Cafe collective (Jurassic 5, Freestyle Fellowship, Abstract Rude & etc.). This group edu-tains you with their verbal political discussions & editorials about society and dealings of life issues, as presented in tracks TRADING PLACES & GUNS OF CALI (featuring Native Guns).

One of my favorite tracks is Re:ACT, which features a deep pulsating bass-line sprinkled in with battle scratches and a verbal barrage by the 3 MC's on social complacency. It plays like a "carpe diem" militant street anthem and encourages to start a self-revolution from within to motivate and inspire oneself through today and beyond.

The content that is presented are themes that are real and relatable - the balance of the love of rhyme & sounds versus life & family, steady optimism through the roller coaster of life and paying homage to friends and family, like the track UNTIL. The crew also gives some home Cali-love from the Bay to LA (and the battle of LA taco's vs Bay burritos as mentioned in the tight track HOME IN THE BAY). WHAT WE DO brings a funky Oakland funk sound as the 3 MC's rhyme about the non-glorified part of being an MC, spending late nights with a bunch of dudes in a cramped studio booth. Though they wouldn't mind the money, glory & fame that comes with being a hip-hop heavy, being true to their values and family is above all.
This multi-ethnic 5 member crew consists of 3 MC's - T-Know, BraelanB and Otayo Dubb. These wordsmiths met at a UC Santa Cruz (Banana Slug Life!!!) where they reveled and honed their craft in hip-hop cyphers, passing the 40 oz's, participation in bong circles and various other recreational college narcotics (which I may have been a privy to…things are a bit hazy whenever I think about those days). Now they've grown up and matured, much like their lyrics. The remaining 2 are producers, Fatgums & Gammaray, who provide the foundation of the well versed lyrics with choice samples, beats and cuts.
Their love of hip hop is obvious and infectious in the midst of family responsibilities and life priorities. I almost think that they daydream in beats & rhyme. Marketing and promotion is often mistakingly used as a barometer of what's "good" in popular society. This leaves many independent artists overlooked. Quality of rhymes and beats should be the measure of good, motivational, and real music. This is what independent artist like The CounterParts provide.

So from the fickle purist to the casual fan into frivolous pop rap, I suggest you deviate from your norm and pick this one up. CD's or downloadable versions can be purchased at independent label Beatrock Music.

While I was listening to their album I was reminded why I will always love H.E.R.. Let the love affair continue...

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