Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Malcolm X's Daughter's Posse Cut

Gamilah Shabazz, Malcolm X's daughter (one of six!), made her rapping debut on Big Daddy Kane's third LP, Taste of Chocolate. The next year, she followed that up with an appearance on 2 Black 2 Strong's album, and finally the year after that, she came out with her own single on BMG/RCA Records. Now, following up on the rap career of a famous politician's daughter - as opposed to, you know, an actual MC who's dedicated their life to making music - may sound like a job best left to the die-hard collectors with too much time on their hands. But like Shaquille O'Neal, Brian Austin Greene and other celebrities buying their way into hip-hop industry, she knew the secret was to pack her debut with compelling guest artists. And she certainly picked an interesting line-up.

"America's Living In a War Zone" features Ice Cube, 2 Black 2 Strong of MMG, Grand Puba, Mr. Biggs of The Soulsonic Force, Me Phi Me and some singer named Tanya Cooper. Certainly an eclectic mix, but not a bad one at all. The track is co-produced by 2 Black 2 Strong, Shabazz, and the underrated (I blame his name) Epitome of Scratch. It's the same kind of banging hardcore track you'd expect from 2 Black 2 Strong, and it features vocal snippets from Malcolm himself, and alternate sample sets for each MC, giving every verse its own identity.

Granted, it gets a little heavy-handed when Tanya stops the thing dead to sing "America the Beautiful" mid-song, and not every MC comes as strong as the one before him... It doesn't sound like Gamilah inherited her father's mastery of eloquent speech with her simple flow that consists of atonally shouting each individual word. But Puba and Cube are in top form (though Puba makes an odd point about black peoples' brains weighing seven and a half pounds, while white peoples' weigh only six... lol what?), and surprisingly Me Phi Me's verse is pretty nice as well ("there ain't a damn thing black in The White House except where/ they keep Clarence Thomas' pubic hairs"). And even the weakest verses are still pure, politically charged anger over a dope beat, so everyone at least earns a pass here.

Now I've got the cassette single up on display, but the 12" features the same picture cover and track-listing: the street mix, a radio edit, and an instrumental on the flip. This is definitely one of those songs that sounds dated... but kind of in a good way. And it can be easily scored for cheap, so to me it's a natural pick-up. Though it's probably just as well that we don't have a whole Gamilah Shabazz album floating around out there.

1 comment:

  1. damn bro, i have that cassingle. didnt think anyone else had it. made me laugh.