THE MINSTREL SHOW
September 13, 2005
Dope Rhymes Dope Beats What More Could Ya’ll Want??
Anyone who knows me can tell you it’s been along time… since I gotten excited about a hip-hop album. Quite Frankly there just hasn’t been much to get excited about. I often ask, where is the originality? Where is the balance?
Well just when I thought it was safe to throw my hands in the air and wave ’em like I just don’t care no more, 3 cats from North Carolina gave me hope again. With the exception of Common’s CD’s “Be,” and “Finding Forever” this could quite frankly be one of the best release in the past few years. Since there has been a lot of garbage packaged as hip-hop being released to the public, I figured I would shine some light on a slept on album I truly feel the world needs to know about!
The cats in question, Phonte, Big Pooh and producer 9th Wonder collectively known as Little Brother who are a throwback to the days of the Native Tongues (Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul) and Black Sheep. The record in question (ok so I’m old school I’m still saying record) the album in question is their sophomore set, “The Minstrel Show,” a conceptual album that’s playfully pokes fun at today’s hip-hop music.
In a time where most releases are more like compilations than albums, this 17-track disc (13 songs, 4 skits) features a limited amount of cameos, including Justus League rappers Joe Scudda Loving It and Chaundon We Got Now, as well as JL singers YaZarah, Darien Brockington, and the rather interesting Percy Miracles (who gets individual shine on the humorous infidelity ode Cheatin. Outside of the North Carolina-based JL camp, Slum Village’s Ehlzi guests on Hiding Place, and the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff offers scratches on Watch Me. Producing the lion’s share of the album, 9th Wonder falls back on the aforementioned Watch Me, with The Away Team’s Khrysis supplying the string-heavy instrumental.
For those who say they are sick and tired of being sick and tired with the same ol’ gangsta infested rap, here is a happy alternative. Little Brother deserved to be supported with their positive focus, jazzy, soulful sound and an anti-mainstream attitude. This CD is worth the price of admission. You ain’t heard, it’s the biggest colored show on earth!
To call The Minstrel Show a classic might be a bit premature, I personally think the word gets thrown around too easily these days, but that being said it is truly one great piece of hip hip that will stand the test of time. A must have for every real hip-hop collection.2 thumbs up and a finger!!!!