Tag Archives: The Roots

Song Review-Who Want It by David Banner featuring Black Thought & WatchtheDuck produced by THX


Song Review-Who Want It by David Banner featuring Black Thought & WatchtheDuck produced by THX


by Dan-O

No one is dumber than me on the subject of Black Thought. While I love and admire The Roots discography and hang on every new release the way nearly every hip hop head of my generation does…I have no idea where Black Thought goes in the history of lyricists.

I’ve always thought that he wasn’t consistent and some Roots albums he was on the throne while others he was fulfilling a commitment limply but he has inarguable one of a kind marks on his resume. He is the only MC on Big Pun’s Capital Punishment who holds up next to Pun and that is saying a lot if you know the guest list on that album. Who Want It is another example of that Black Thought. This is very much a Banned From TV style ugly posse cut beat and Black Thought lays a verse you just have to hear. When he says “I smash the vocal booth and turn back to David Banner, N!” I was terrified. How is Banner gonna follow that?!  I would likely be shaking with terror.

David Banner is a truly wild dude. The album this song is on is called The God Box and you can call it conscious if you want. It is large print rap star conspiracy theory/paranoia/racial dialogue. No sleepy piano beats where he whispers thoughtful advice to his audience. He roars warnings and this song is a perfect example. He jumps into the historical rape of black women and personalizes it. He pulls in the death of notable black genius’s like Prince “They tell us that it’s drugs or suicide and sweep that sh_t under the rug.” Whether I agree with David Banner or not isn’t the point (and I do a lot of the time). God Box has fifteen songs and on every verse you believe Banner believes. Some songs will make you uncomfortable if your white and too comfortable (Elvis) but it is a heck of an experience. Banner isn’t the G.O.A.T. bar for bar but he is an incredible producer so he has a brilliant ear and God Box sounds like nothing out there. He also fills all space vocally with thought provocation and I have had a soft spot for that since KRS.

If you love hip hop this is your jam. If it sounds old school to you grab that Freshman XXL cover and look up some mixtapes that can transport you to a land of pleasant robot voice hooks and love songs. To each their own.


Mixtape Review-Trybecca by Death By Icon

Mixtape Review-Trybecca by Death By Icon

by Dan-O

In order for a region to maintain a trademark sound it not only needs to stay in close connection with it (not abandon it when the spotlight moves on) but challenge it with variation. Chicago established a bleak toughness as its modern sound when drill invaded everyone’s mp3 players. The challenge a lot of Chicago artists face is building on the inherent snarling stout structure already in place while taking it in a different direction. Trybecca traverses this and other obstacles with a premeditation and wisdom unlike most debut projects.

Hip hop bands have pressure to “jam” the way tall people do to play basketball. A normal rapper spitting over the beat can get loud and wild or quiet and meditative but if you have a band backing you most people expect you to crank up that advantage. Show the depth of your instrumentation and puff your collective chest out to convince everyone how different you sound; during this process projects become less cohesive (live shows are still a lot of fun). Think about The Roots. They never sit and worry about what to rap about the question they always face is “how is this thing supposed to sound?” A lot of rappers just grab the best beatsmiths and spit. A band has more to worry about than that.

Trybecca never sacrifices an inch. Kismet travels at 400 meter dash pace (Conundrum is a 100 yard dash); challenging your speakers while filling the listening experience with spooky darkened spaces. Toothspace kicks off in a brilliantly defiant fashion with a bored tone of voice explaining “I’d rather die my way than live yours or take a course in divorce law…” a sampled voice behind the song begs for the song to get louder but it never does. The sonic universe is so superbly controlled that nothing need be turned up. Even Let Loose, the perfect fist pumping road trip song, seems delivered exactly as it should be. Never to be remixed or tinkered with, designed by the steady fingers of nihilist hip hop scientists.

It took Chance The Rapper to make people realize that Chicago is deeper than drill but the active listeners knew that. The Whoevers, Death by Icon, Tree and so many others are experimenting while the world takes notes. It’s only a matter of time before it gets acknowledged for the different directions its growing into and not just the circus surrounding the drill movement. While Trybecca isn’t my favorite mixtape of the year it’s a Derrick Rose rookie season showing you not only is this kid good but he could be GREAT. I don’t know the names of the people who Death By Icon consist of. By no means am I an expert on their history or educated enough to project their future. The first time I heard WHT_club fold into itself and pull back out like an accordion I wanted to be an expert. That’s what a successful debut should do.

Stream or Download Trybecca below: