Monday, October 25, 2004

The Man We Used To Know And Love Returns

Here's a rare hip hop feel good story. Kwame is back. Yes, Kwame, the man we all know and love. He's been producing for the last few years, and was the man behind the boards on Lloyd Banks' single On Fire. This track has gotten quite a bit of play even though Lloyd Banks is bland like margarine, so I'd say he owes Kwame some thanks. It appears he's not a one hit wonder either, he's also done production for LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, Will Smith, and Tweet. The Will Smith thing is a tad suspect but hey, it's work, and Kwame's taking the Willionaire to another level: "It's not the traditional Will Smith record, but he's not trying to be a gangsta either," said Kwame. "It's pop-oriented, but with a grimy element." Ahh, a grimy Will Smith, sounds like a recipe for success.

The fact that Kwame is re-surfacing after doing production for a gangsta rapper like Lloyd Banks is fairly ironic. It was the rise of the hardcore MC that pretty much lead to Kwame's disappearance in the first place. Biggie Smalls almost buried him for good with one line "Your life is played out like Kwame, and them fuckin polka dots". That unwanted cameo on Unbelievable put a stink on Kwame like the B.O. in Seinfeld's car. Apparently it took some time to wash the stink off "it was difficult for people to see beyond the polka dots. People were afraid to be attached to a name like mine." The times changed and Kwame's whole personna, not just the polka dots, was pretty much played out. It was a different time when he started in '89. He billed himself as "The Boy Genius", crafting his super smart beats and lyrics in front of a computer in his Mickey Mouse polo shirt. That was when being smart was somewhat cool. Leapin' Lanny Poffo was reading poems as The Genius in the WWF. But that changed rapidly and these days you couldn't come with a worse angle in rap music than "the smart guy". Kanye West might sport the Mickey polo, but even he has skits making fun of smart people on his album. Kwame made 4 albums, but a boy genius wouldn't get one album made in 04.

But I'm happy to see Kwame back on the scene. He says he probably won't do a new album as an artist, but maybe he'll change his mind. Going back and listening to his debut album brings me back to a different time. I bought that tape from Sam The Record Man not knowing anything about Kwame other than he was a rapper. You could do that then, there weren't 5000 hip hop albums a year. Produced by Hurby Luv Bug, it's 8 songs of golden age goodness. U Gotz 2 get Down, The Rhythm, The Man We All Know And Love, The Mic Is Mine, Keep On Doin'(What You're Doin' Baby). If you haven't heard this, check it out for yourself. Hopefully more dudes from the 80's will have a role in modern hip hop.

Posted at 9:52 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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