May 20, 2013

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Evan Nabavian wrote this in Pac blood.

2Pac isn’t exactly the rap martyr du jour right now. Yes, he is rap’s greatest firebrand and any rapper-cum-revolutionary owes him a debt of gratitude, but direct emulation of his style and sound is rare outside of Freddie Gibbs. Popular rap styles change with the seasons and it’s fair to expect more 2Pac love when everyone is done doing molly (please excuse the lack of a good “I Get Around” joke). For now, Co$$’ turn as ghetto sermonizer on “Blasphemy In Babylon” is a refreshing take on Pac’s cadence and latter day cynicism.

Co$$ employs one of the more precarious hip-hop tropes in using Muslim terrorism as an analogue for gangster shit, but he actually puts together a compelling picture without quite putting his foot in his mouth. His world is one of men conscripted by fate to betray and kill in the name of fealty to neighborhoods. He has the reedy voice of an indie rap flag bearer except when he quavers into song on the hook to emblazon “Babylon” in your memory. Urgency is packed into his rapid yet malleable flow that builds to a climax of street paradoxes worthy of “City of God” or La Haine”. But the lineage of “Blasphemy In Babylon” can be neatly traced back to track five on 2Pac’s “last” album.

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