Since the decline of the CD and the rise of iTunes and spotify, I would be a lying if I said that I always listen to a new album from start to finish in order. How tempting is it to shuffle or skip to tracks with interesting titles or known features. I find due to how accessible music is now that I simply work out my journey time to work or home and put together a playlist that will fill it. Rapsploitation is 32 minutes of the purest Hip Hop. The kind that throws you back to when you didn’t skip tracks because it required effort or your CD player was old or broken. It’s refreshing to listen to an album from start to finish that flows so effortlessly.
In 2017, (in my opinion) it’s hard to find Hip Hop that doesn’t have a Trap element to it or if born and raised in East London like me, you probably lean towards a Grime metric. Endemic Emerald & Skanks the Rap Martyr have provided a dope old school display of lyricism, flow and finesse that is authentic and timeless.
From the title alone, this album nails it. The exploitation of black people and their culture is has always existed but now seems exemplified and has gained greater visibility due to social media. This is the comeback. The answer to the issues. We fight back through art.
Since 2013, Endemic Emerald & Skanks the Rap Martyr have been collaborating in New York to provide a strong duel prospective of Hip Hop.
The album starts controversially with a snippet from the 1986 New York interview with Peter Tosh. Peter Tosh was a reggae artist who was tortured and murdered during a home invasion the year after. The interview refers to the exploitation of reggae artists and black music in which Tosh says ’ I’m going to kill the fuckery’ which is the last line of the ‘Rapsploitation intro’ stating what the rest of the album will do.
Stand out songs include ‘Trouble’ with beautiful vocals provided by E Class Wright. It touches on police brutality and gang culture with the vocal providing a melancholy yet hopeful energy. This song helps to take the listener into real time mentioning Sandra Bland, immediately tells us which period this album is from, something that it hard to distinguish by production value alone which gives the album its edge- old school production, new stories to be told.
‘everything ain’t always what it seems, we’re here to wake you out your dreams’
This lyric from the chorus of the track ‘Make Believe’ again reminds us that this album is discussing dead friends and the ill treatment of the black community. Its direct intent shows that we as a community need to open our eyes and really see what is happening in order to make change. This track comes straight after ‘Trouble’ which is clever as it doesn’t allow us to take a break from the issues. The perfect wake up call.
‘Straight out da NYC’ provides nostalgia with its sample of Ja Rule’s ‘New York’ – reminding us that it has been 13 years since that track was released. Any glow up of New York has a special place in my heart. After all..it is where Hip Hop started. Although Endemic Emerald & Skanks the Rap Martyr are Brooklyn based you can’t deny the powerhouses that the borough provides.
Best beat of the album is ‘Half Baked’. The ascending piano melody that gives us this sense of urgency which ties perfectly with quick punchlines laid over by Haz Diggs. Three minutes and forty five seconds of genius.
This album is such a joy to listen to if you’re a true Hip Hop Head. Your head will nod, your brain will be educated and the best part…ten years from now it will come on your shuffle and you will listen with a smile. An immutable classic.