Boom Bap Is Alive And Kickin'
|By Mariella Gross and Amir Said (Sa'id)|
A couple of weeks ago, BET aired “My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth about Women in Hip Hop,” a documentary mostly about Female rappers (MCs). Tastefully done and informative, the film raised several provocative questions. Among the questions that the film raised, perhaps the ones that struck the biggest chord were, “What happened to female rappers? Why did they all but disappear? And when (or will) they return to prominence? These questions gave way to further questions, Was there any female rapper left today, who could really engage (or even impress) you for an album's worth of music? Moreover, is there any female rapper who actually deserves (if you will) the title. Fortunately, Rah Digga confirms the affirmative on both counts.
With her latest album, Classic, produced entirely by Nottz, Rah Digga has not only represented for female rappers, she’s thrown it down for all rappers. On one of those albums that you can truly listen to from the beginning to the end—without skipping a song—, Digga shows off her wit and edginess, giving her trash talking, bravado-filled male counterparts a run for their money. And what also makes Classic so enjoyable is the fact that it’s boom bap and storytelling to the fullest. There are no bubblegum beats! And equally refreshing, Classic is devoid of hyper sexualized “nonsense rap.”
Consciously sidestepping the horrendous, ill-fated “sex and non-lyrical” image of the female in today’s rap scene, Digga projects a lyrical confidence that is both historical and right on time. Her voice is distinctive and steady, and her style holds true no matter the beat or subject matter. Simply put, Digga is squarely concerned with being no one but herself, which makes Classic even more enjoyable for fans of the non-filler brand of hip hop/rap.
As for the beats, Nottz—one of the beatmaking tradition’s most valuable personas—delivers nothing but heat. All of the staples that have made him a favorite of your favorite beatmakers are present on Classic: knocking drums; creatively woven arrangements; unique sounds; stylistic arrangements. Plus, with Nottz handling all of the beatwork on Classic, listeners are reminded of the benefits of having one lone beatmaker (producer) at the helm: most notably continuity and one solid musical message.
Finally, on an album full of bangers, which perhaps included only one semi-let down, “This Ain’t No Little Kid Rap” (surprisingly the first release single), it will be hard for you to pick out the top joints on Classic, but some of the clear stand out favorites—which required multiple listens—include: “Feel Good;” “Solidified; ” and “Look What You Done Started.”
Bottom line: Classic gets the BeatTips seal of approval.