These days I've been so out of the loop with hip hop in general that I've completely forgotten that there's still an underground, still hungry emcees snatching mics, and still high school kids picking up used MPCs to become the new unsigned hype. No doubt they have a long and tough road ahead of them, especially in today's over-commercialized, overly jiggy hip hop world, but it's always refreshing to hear new, raw, hip hop, and talk to these guys who have such passion for what they do.
Just last week, one of my students, who's normally a bit surly and always looking sideways at somebody came up to me with a big grin on his face. "Hey you GOT to check this out" he said as he heaved his tattered and stuffed backpack onto the table. "What's up?" I asked. As he unzipped his backpack, there was obviously something big in there, and I could tell he was pretty excited about showing me whatever his new toy was. He had that giddiness of an 8-year old kid I didn't often see in him. As he proudly pulled out a shiny metal box, I saw the MPC logo and immediately understood his excitement. I loved seeing this - whether or not he or others are able to make a career out of their love for hip hop, up-and-coming artists remind me of that there's still a thriving underground that embodies how hip hop should be. So here are a few such emcees who got some real skills and deserve our support.
[MP3] Has-Lo :: Unsigned Emcees
[MP3] Has-Lo :: Calibration
More on Has-Lo on his blog and myspace
[MP3] Donny Goines :: The Light
[MP3] Donny Goines :: Play out in the Rain
Downloads and more on Donny here and on his myspace