Friday, December 4, 2015

And Now Han Solo Takes the Mic

Following up yesterday's post about Shamroc the Abstract Jedi, we have one of Sham's crew members (I'm guessing he's another member of The Abstract Jedis, but at the very least he's another guy on Oh Sham Recordings with a Star Wars themed tape), Dahflow a.k.a. Han Slow Flow a.k.a. Adolfo. His first single and he's already given himself three names; this guy's worse than Kool Keith. With the new Star Wars movie's big selling point being the return of Harrison Ford as Han Solo, I guess this post is extra fitting.

So this is a single called "Step Up," which according to the inside notes, is "[f]rom the upcoming album 'Step Up.' Available on cassette, vinyl and CD." As with Shamroc's album, though, I'm not sure that ever happened. But we've got the lead single, at least on cassette. This also came out in 2000.

This tape, though, isn't really Star Wars rap. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of Han Solo references, including soundbites from the movies. It opens with a clip of Armageddon where Owen Wilson and Ben Affleck bicker over which one of them gets to call himself Han Solo. And there is a Star Wars themed song called "The Next Jedi Break" which sets some of the Star Wars score (and, nicely, it selects other moments than the most famous themes) to hip-hop drums, but it's strictly an instrumental. Dahflow never brings Star Wars into his lyrics on this one. And let's not lose sight, that's actually probably a good thing.

We've basically got two songs (plus "The Next Jedi Break"), the first of which is the title cut, "Step Up." It's your standard battle rap directed at nobody in particular, with a hook that goes, "so y'all think y'all beats are better than mine? So y'all think y'all beats are better than mine? Well I think y'all need to go back to the lab and practice a lot more before you (step up)!" Of course the "step up" part is the same vocal sample Gangstarr used on "Step Into the Arena" and then 2Pac lifted on "I Get Around." It's a pretty good track and Dahflow rides it pretty well, with a Scott Lark-like style; but I don't know that it's really exceptional enough to make it worth seeking out an obscure release like this.

And that applies even more so to "Stare," which I guess is sort of his "Bonita Applebum." He sings his own hook, which is interesting; he's shooting for more of an atonal Erykah Badu style than a full Johnny Gill. And it's got kind of the funky, soulful yet quirky vibe of "Applebum," but less so. It just doesn't have that super catchy sample that Tip had found, and lyrically it gets a little corny: "so we get in her van, act like long-time friends, grab my hands and now I'm in like Flynn. Puerto Rican peekin' Asian, slight taste of Caucasian. She had to be one of God's beautifullest creations on the planet Earth. I wish I knew her since birth because I definitely woulda been puttin' in work."

So this is a cool companion piece to the Shamroc tape, but on its own it's just okay. And while it makes plenty of token gestures, it doesn't really deliver on its promise of Star Wars-related novelty. It does make me wonder what else from Oh Sham actually got released... They actually still have an official website online as of this writing, but all of its sections are blank and infortmation-less. I suspect the Abstract Jedis' Alliance album might actually be out there, because the two tapes I've got have a picture of its cover on their interior artwork. Shamroc and Dahflow's full-length albums I'd say are less likely, but you could maybe find The Alliance. And it probably has plenty more Star Wars content for you if you do.

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