Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Album: Da Allnighta
Artist: The Primeridian

The Prime Meridian is a line somewhere in the UK used to calibrate the world's various time zones. The Primeridian is Chicago duo Tree & V who kick conscious, soulful hip hop from the mighty midwest. I can't be sure on what the significance of the name would be but I'll guess that as the Prime Meridian is supposed to be a central point on the globe, Primeridian is sending out their brand of thinking man's hip hop from the middle of the US. Or not, I have no idea, but I know they're worth a listen.

Primeridian sound like Zion I mixed with Asheru & Blue Black, and with a bit of Jaydee's midwestern style on the beats. Tree & V flow together so seamlessly that I honestly can't tell them apart. That could be a bit of a negative if they ever plan to launch solo careers, but it works on this album.

I believe The Primeridian also produced the majority of this album, and they've done a solid job. The beats are mainly of the programmed variety and are sort of uptempo yet mellow at the same time, if that makes any sense. The production on this album won't blow you away, but it matches the MC's flows, which makes sense as they did it themselves. It's also consistent the whole way through, which makes for a cohesive album.

Lyrically, Primeridian is like the University Of Michigan's offensive line: heavy. The album starts off with a long Malcolm X sample, and that's a good indication that you're about to get a large helping of the conscious lyrics. Tatuduhendi (Boogie Man), a song with a name that would probably keep it from ever being popular, starts off by mentioning that one of the MC's was conceived at an anti-nuclear protest and then rips the American government. This song also starts with a sample of Furious Styles from Boyz In The Hood schooling folks on how the government messes with their community. Which is awesome because it allowed me to type "Furious Styles" in this review. Social Studies Pt. 2 uses a dysfunctional family as a metaphor to describe how the government screws (literally!) the middle class.

There were only a couple songs that I had issues with. Smoke Signals has some gratuitous reaggae toasting that doesn't add much. Speaking of gratuitous, at the beginning of Smoke Signals one of the MC's mentions that all hip hop songs need a talking intro, that it's a "hip hop rule". They repeat this "rule" at the beginning of Post To Do, before they break into a love-rap song that contains almost as much French as a Buck65 song. Awesome. Well this whole talking intro thing is one of my pet peeves with current hip hop (seems especially prevalent in underground hip hop), so I hope dudes stop following this "rule". Seriously, if you have something to say, say it in the song, save the boring ad libs for your stage show.

Despite having a borderline cheesy title, Da Allnighta is a solid hip hop album. It's a mature brand of hip hop that can be hard to find these days, and I've found it gets better with repeated listens as you start to digest the lyrics. These fellows from Chicago definitely have something to say, so hear it for yourself.


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