January 11, 2011

You may recognize DJ Trackstar from The Smoking Section or one of the 100 mixtapes he’s previously dropped. His most recent, Boogie Bang 25, comes highly recommended.

A loaded name like Skipp Coon can create a lot of preconceptions for a budding artist, especially when combined with a Mississippi pedigree. Some dismiss immediately, while others question the use of a historically hurtful term (a conversation Skipp will happily engage). Those that lend their ears to the Sophomore Slump EP, however, will find that the controversially named MC is a freedom fighter in the vein of Dead Prez, not a Southern crunk-n-roll artist dancing hard in the paint. An ideal complement, his  producer, Mister Nick creates post-Dilla soundscapes that match the energy and intensity of Skipp’s passionate advocacy.

The duo know the air is unfit to breathe and the food is unfit to eat. They’re out to destroy the illusions that their peers are under, as well as the complacency that comes from believing in them. Consequently, their six song EP sounds like the result of forceful pressure being applied, with Skipp setting the agenda from the first lines of the opening track, “James”: “See now that you’ve got Obama, you’re happy as some pigs in slop/I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop/I got these guns to cop/the revolution won’t be televised so I refuse to watch/middle finger to the cops/the struggle won’t ever stop/without some force to it, their bubble won’t ever pop.”

On the second track, Skipp remains measured but enraged while rhyming over a beat that sounds like it should be soundtracking teatime. Calmly but forcefully, Skipp asks whether his fellow artists “wonder what happens to kids that’s jammin what we makin?”. Eventually, he concludes with resignation that it is what it is.

Heavily sampling the 1976 classic, Network, the SS EP paints a dark but hopeful picture of American politics and culture. In Network, Howard Beale was the “mad prophet of the airwaves”, ranting and raving maniacally, aiming to help his audience recognize the situation they are in and strive for something better. He and Skipp differ in technique–the MC’s words are chosen carefully and arranged with precision–but share the same goal, and deliver their respective messages with tenacity and a disregard for the approval of the powers that be.

MP3: Skipp Coon & Mr. Nick ft. David Banner & Luca Brazi-“4 28 67 pt. 2”

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