One compelling theory as to why your sound is pussy.

Some weeks ago I caught DJ Babu  in Chicago. If you don’t know, Babu is the DJ 1/3 of the rap group Dilated Peoples (filled out by emcees Evidence and Iriscience). Dilated Peoples, if you don’t know, are a popular underground hip-hop group from California, of whose records regular folk will most likely remember either or both of these  This Way (ft. Kanye West) and Worst Come to Worst. Among heads, Evidence is known as probably the only dude to go back at Eminem and come out better for it. Among goatee-aficionados, Iriscience is known as probably the only black dude to place regularly in the annual Captain Lou Albano Chin-Off. And among turntablists, Babu is known as a beast on the wheels (as well as the inventor of the term). Now I’m not really the biggest fan of Dilated as a group, but Babu also is a member of the Beat Junkies, and most importantly was one of the two DJs responsible for the sequence, blends, and cuts on the greatest mixtape of all time (disagree? fight me). So I check for Babu when I can.

Babu, hip-hop standard-bearer and spokesmodel.

The show was good. Babu rocked the crowd with a good mix of classic records and new dope stuff I hadn’t heard. Then, for the last 10 minutes of the show he broke it down something like this, at which point I’m like a 10 year old watching. This is what I came for. The show was fine up to that point; but the best part by far, for anybody like me, was Babu breaking that shit down. For the entire show I knew it was coming. I anticipated it. And when it came, it defined the evening. When I think about my favorite hip-hop, I find that it often conforms to pattern similar to this. Bonafide classics like Peter Piper, Rock The Bells, Scenario, The Choice Is Yours –songs that push a live party into frenzy– all have you listening for some crescendo, that, when it comes, defines the entire song. When was the last time you heard a NEW hip-hop song like that? And aside from Kanye, on the production side, I can’t think of anyone making even basic use of a build-up/break-down structure. Its like the whole generation skipped LEGOs (and for silly putty). Beats are all the same through the whole song. Flows are all the same through the whole song. 1st verse sounds like the 2nd verse sounds like the 3rd verse sounds like I wasted another 4 minutes trying to relate to this era of hip-hop. Looks like I’m back to NPR in the ride, that is until Terri Gross is compelled by whatever nefarious forces to profile Waka Flocka Flame during drive time. (These dudes is really gon’ have me bumpin’ that Spanish WNUA on the Ryan this summer.)

Anyway, the blog is back; and with it, some new posts will be thrown in focused on identifying and appreciating the best of hip-hop from the BreakDown Era (BDE), a period roughly from 1979 to whatever year that was when Ma$e thought he could float out a rap crew with a dude in it named Blinky Blink. Cuz the game was certainly over by then. Pacman-pun regretted, but intended —- waka, waka, snitches.

So Icey.

GLOSSARY for Post-BDE Readers


[kri-shen-doh, -sen-doh; It. kre-shen-daw]

a. a gradual, steady increase in loudness or force.
b. a musical passage characterized by such an increase.
c. the performance of a crescendo passage.
2. a steady increase in force or intensity.
3. the climactic point or moment in such an increase; peak.
4. the breakdown; what keeps hip-hop fresh. [See: Alphabet Aerobics, Blackalicious]

Next Issue of Geek Blak.

“NAACP, NOW, and American Linguistics Society comment on their joint-venture to trademark ‘diphthong’ before Cam’ron finds out that it is a word.”