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A damn great review of HOPE. Very thoughtful and funny.10/29
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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A damn great review of HOPE. Very thoughtful and funny.10/29  Reply with quote  

Thanks to Timmypr for the link

Damage, destruction, terror, motherf**ker say what?’ ‘Sigh,’ goes the indie-kid a mere three tracks into the debut Non-Prophets album. ‘Here we have yet another hip-hop act more obsessed with guns, violence, bitches and ghettos than proper musical flair and thought-provoking wordplay. There’s nothing for me here.’ Give it a few seconds. ‘I go to Fugazi shows requesting Minor Threat songs.’ No, we didn’t see that coming either. Like most of the high points on ‘Hope’, it’s a clever, humorous and joyous surprise. From a hip-hop stand-point, this is worth getting genuinely excited about. From a musical perspective in general, it should raise a good few eyebrows and compel one or two jaws to drop south too. ‘Hope’ is a thick broth of thought, bereft of mere filler and focused on trying to put as many ideas out in the open as is possible on one CD. Be careful not to take this as a year zero kind of record – its hardly heavily disguised roots are to be found firmly in old school hip-hop, but its branches are heading off in every which direction, learning from the mistakes of others and running with the flair that’s all their own. If it wasn’t besieged with such obscenity, ‘Damage’, the chorus from which the previous rhymez were lifted, would make the perfect single, a wonderful introduction to all that should get you angry, scared and energised about the Non-Prophets. The marvellous ‘That Ain’t Right’ soon follows with a critique of the flaws of pretty much everything, before further highlight ‘Mainstream 307’ berates a corporate record-industry. On ‘Tolerance Level’, they even somehow manage to form a hybrid of NWA, Suicide and ‘Spanish Caravan’ by The Doors. The fine production, offered by Joe Beats, one half of the Non-Prophets (the other being manic MC Sage Francis), is dense and dark, and Francis’ lyrics fly past so quickly you’re only ever really able to grab passing morsels. There are some morals here, they just take some finding. Yet NP’s verses prove far more listenable than the choruses, limiting themselves to repeating a few words is much less exciting than hearing the at-times offensive, self-mocking, often hilarious and consistently thought-provoking streams of consciousness that constitute the rest of their songs. It’s littered with amusing sound-bites, no more-so than on ‘A Mill’, their explanation of why they’d only sign with a major-label if offered a million dollars. To put it in their words (and it’s a logic that’s hard to argue with), ‘A mill,’ ladies and gentlemen, ‘would be ill.’ It could well show an open door to a genre for all those previously put off by what it’s had to offer so far. Whatever criticisms you want to make of it, if you try to accuse it of being unintelligent either musically or lyrically you’re resoundingly misguided. Hip-hop has been full of a range of virtues and vices in its turbulent history – violence, anger, vigour and humour to name but a few. Perhaps now however, the strongest of these is ‘Hope’.

Tom Hannan
Post Wed Oct 29, 2003 4:54 am
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