Usually when an album comes out that really hits me, I do an album review (or what I would like to call an album review), but I think this time around I will do something a little different. You see I’ve noticed what I have done more often recently is not so much an album review, but more of a listening session and although if you’re reading this, you have at least a moderate level of interest in what I’m saying, I don’t think it would be profitable.
You might be wondering why that is, well here is my reasoning. I don’t think I can vocalize the emotions, thoughts and concerns over my own doctrinal comfort zones to succinctly and accurately reflect this album in a way that communicates my heart honestly. I will try to elaborate on some areas where this album exceeded even my deepest expectations for an album, but in short, this album is (properly named) Excellent.
Hip-hop is one of those things I hold in very high regard; to varying degrees, higher than nearly every other art form out there. Hip-hop for very many years has been very healing for me. From the inexpressible soul behind the instrumental portions (beats), to the way an emcee can take massive concepts, struggles, doctrines, etc. and condense them into a few minutes, to the dedication and often self-inflicted damage of b-boys to pull off a move that is seemingly inhuman, to the political, personal, artistic expressions presented in a medium some consider simple; spray paint.
Hip-hop has at times been a god to me (to my own shame) and at other times, been a hindrance to my own well being. But, one thing it has always been is affectuous. Unfortunately, over the past few years, that appeal and affect has waned. Hip-hop has rarely tread a path of uniqueness, honesty and passion and has instead found what seems like a Walmart template approach. Give the customer as much product as possible, for as little cost possible. While this may work well for groceries and other consumer goods, it is detrimental to art. True art does not come without a cost. True art is not easily templated and reproduced. True art to put it more simply is time-consuming, transparent, vulnerable and creative.
With all of that being said, I feel that this is what Propaganda has offered in this album. Art. A true art that screams “curse mediocrity, I will speak my heart”. A true art that refuses to tip-toe around your sacred cows; not wanting to make a stir. An art that has once again restored my hope for what hip-hop can and should be. Over the past year, only a few albums have had this type of impact on me. Satellite Kite, On Word and Sacrament and now Excellent.