Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th, Everybody! American and Proud!

Big Scoob dropped this anthem in 2002 on the underrated label, Fully Blown (they did a full run of 12"s with Scoob, plus Chubb Rock's last 12", PRT's last 12", etc). It's produced by a DJ by the name of L. Supreme, who also produced Scoob's "The Way They Go" single. He does a good job, but really it'd be pretty hard to screw this one up.

The concept is pretty simple... it changes James Brown's epic tune "I'm Black and I'm Proud" to "I'm American and Proud!" The hook is basically the same, with a chorus of children shouting it out, and the instrumental liberally takes from all its elements - the funky horns, etc - from the original. This is hardly the first time that song has been used in this way - think Tragedy or Kool Moe Dee - but since when has cribbing from James ever been a bad look? It's not breaking any new ground (even slightly) but like the "Impeach the President" breakbeat; it still works perfectly every time.

And this is well after the period, thankfully, where he was doing that high-pitched B-Real knock-of voice... here he's back to his natural, engaging voice and flow. His rhymes are witty without being punchliney, clear, and they move at a consistent pace but without ever spilling into "fast rap" (not that I mind fast rap at all; but it ain't mainstream if soccer moms can't rap along) Honestly, I think Big Scoob is like the second Jay-Z who just never got that big break. You see it somewhat here, but not quite as strongly as on some of his other records, since he's a kinda tied down to the stars and stripes talk here.

There's nothing else here besides the song and the instrumental on the flip, but it's a good song. If Fully Blown was larger and had wider distribution, I could easily see this being one of those records DJs break out at the same time every year; and when they did, it would get the crowd open.

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