8.22.2006

What happened to the rap group?

Reese One and Basik as Bleu Collar

I find myself getting more and more engulfed by this phenomenon becoming known as hip-hop blogs. It might have something to do with my summer office job that has placed me in front of a computer for 8 hours each day, which, if you haven't guessed, is the reason why I've been updating this shit on a nearly daily basis. The tediousness of office jobs can drive someone crazy, but luckily the internet and the blogesphere [1] have allowed me to separate myself from the redundancy of sorting mail and creating filing folders for new vendors.

I have especially found the blogs at XXL Magazine to be some of the most entertaining, as it consolidates different personalities together to put them all under one umbrella blog location to check out. Its the site for numerous blog beefs and blog etherings [2].

Yesterday, Noz put up a post questioning the extinction of rap groups. "Where did the rap group go?"

One answer can lie within the Bay Area, that has for the past year given us several groups that have the promise of achieving great hieghts: The Federation, The Team, Frontline, and the Mob Figaz, to name a few [3] [4]. The Dirty South has groups, but as much as I find snap dancing entertaining, I don't really see a long standing presence in hip-hop for many of them.

Though, while I still have love for the groups from the Bay, I have to give it to Los Angeles for being the home base for one of hip-hop's best kept secret, Bleu Collar (not to be confused with Seattle's Blue Scholars, another really dope group). The duo, composed of emcees Basik and Reese One, has had their fair share of shine in the independent route, doing shows with the Living Legends (when Basik refers to Eligh as his couin, its actually literal). Basik has been around for quite some time in the underground scene releasing 2 solo joints, Apex Predator and At the Mercy of the City, and had used his relationship with the Living Legends to tour and build his own fan base. Prior to hearing about Bleu Collar, I never heard much about Reese One, and honestly I still don't know much about him, but from what I know, he got his start at the Goodlife Cafe and built with the Project Blowed.

As a duo, they released their self titled lp, which was one of my personal favorite releases of 2003. With production assistance from Grouch, Eligh, and Mums the Word in addition to their laid back LA style, impervious lyrics, and hedonistic storytelling, the album made for some of the perfect summer music. Songs like, "Making Rounds", "Bank to Bank", and "Slide to the Left" create that vibe that makes one want to just chill out and sip on a 4-0. This album was the prototype that showed me how to stay finely balanced between staying g'd up and backpackish.

If you've seen them live, then you know how well this duo can rock a show with their energy and dynamic stage presence. Its not just their stage presence that keeps their cult following growing, but its also in their added chemistry. Its evident that both individuals shine in their own light, but with the back and forth rhymes, that brings back a nostalgic feeling of the "double trouble" style rap, it shows everyone the teamwork that is missed from rap groups. (and not just two rappers who happen to make music on the same album). The relationship that Reese and Basik have is exactly how every rap duo should coexist, with each rapper feeding off the other rappers energy and rhymes.

Check out the interview they had last month at DubCNN.

Some audio (but more at their site):

Bleu Collar - Making Rounds (from self titled lp)

Bleu Collar - Bleu Collar Is Dem Boys (from their self titled mix tape)

Bleu Collar - Good with the Ladies (from Los Angeles Designer Music Vol. 1)

On a side note:

The Pack's "Vans" song premiered on 106 & Park today. Its even on their list of videos that you can vote for to be on the countdown. So whats the deal? BET and MTV are both owned by Viacom, so is it still banned on MTV? Was it all really a publicity stunt? And last but not least, why am I devoting so much time and energy to The Pack?

If you were wondering why that Lupe video isn't loading anymore, blame it on the idiocy of Atlantic records.

And an interview with Traxamillion at DubCNN.

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[1] That word is humorous to me.
[2] Another humorous idea if one were to think of it, its almost as great as arguments that breaks out on message boards.
[3] Although the line-ups of some of those groups do need some work. Stressmatic needs to go and Locksmith needs to find a better partner.
[4] "What no Pack?," I can already hear it being asked... These kids still have yet to prove to me that they're hungry enough.

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