Beneficence – Concrete Soul (REVIEW)

2012 has been another good year for hip hop. We saw some heavy albums drop from the likes of OC & Apollo Brown, Oddisee, Methuzulah, Blu & Exile, Venomous2000,  Sean Price, Roc Marciano, 9th Wonder & Murs, even Masta Ace & MF DOOM to name just a few! We also saw the release of a new album from Beneficience that has been making big waves in underground hip hop circles.Benificence is no stranger to the mic. He has been in and around hip hop since the early 90’s and has been a long time associate of the Artifacts.

Since copping the CD a few weeks ago, I am happy to say that “Concrete Soul” certainly lives up to the standards 2011’s “Sidewalk Science”.  Purchasing a Beneficence album is always going to be a safe investment because you know your going to get nothing but straight up, good old boom bap! You don’t have to worry about mainstream crossovers and gimmicks with this type of seasoned emcee because the history speaks for itself.

“Perhaps the hardest hitter of all is the phenomenal AG collaboration “All Real” which see’s the D.I.T.C legend deliver a monster of a verse”

Having said that the album is not completely flawless as there were one or two tracks like “Getting Stronger” and “Y.W.E” that didn’t quite hit the mark. I was also hoping for a little bit more from the Masta Ace collaboration, “Reality Vs Fiction”. Not that these tracks are bad (Benef is on point and Ace is flawless as always), but I just felt the production didn’t deliver as well as it could have. Aside from these very minor gripes, I can safely say that overall this is a very solid offering that flies in the face of the majority of hip hop churned out these days. When you are dealing with a hip hop album of this caliber it’s difficult to find anything to be critical about. This becomes even more apparent when you sample the albums big bangers!

all-real-beneficence

Perfect Navigation”, produced by Ill Adrenaline label mate “Confidence” can only be described as a perfect hip hop track and really highlights the impact great production can have in bringing justice to great lyrics! Confidence shows up again on 4 more of the albums heavy hitters, “Straight Out The Gates”, “Hood Early Years”, “Way We Rockin” and the awesome “Rebel Muzik”. Other highlights for me where “Rulez To The Game” Ft B 1 and Herb Magruf and “Hood Cartel” Ft Roc Marciano.

Perhaps the hardest hitter of all is the phenomenal AG collaboration “All Real” which see’s the D.I.T.C legend deliver a monster of a verse that reminds us all that the veterans still can’t be touched when it comes to this hip hop shit!

 

Percee P and Lord Finesse Talk About The History Of Hip Hop

Percee P has been in the game for a while, as far back as 1979 and for me is mad underrated among the wider audience. In a relaxed informal discussion held at 90.7 Breakbeats & Rhymes, Percee P and legendary producer Lord Finesse give some interesting insights on the development of hip hop music over the years. Finesse also goes on to re-sight some of Perce’s rhymes, paying homage to one of hip hops most prolific lyricists.

“Perce’ was so nice I had to put him on two songs on the second album”……Lord Finesse

Finesse takes the view that most of today’s emcees who enter the cipher lack technical lyrical ability and is amazed that the majority of fans don’t notice. Percee P makes the observation that fans aren’t as critical as they used to be back in the day.  This is a very valid point and one that I  share with him. I think fans should expect more and hold some of these cookie cutter emcees accountable.

Hip hop was such an underground sub culture back in the day,  you had to be crazy nice on the mic or you would get exposed. This acted as a form of regulation that sifted out the wack from the real talent. The hip hop landscape today is vastly different because it has become such a wide spread corporate commodity. The whole game has changed at every level.

Mobb Deep’s Havoc said in a recent interview that when he first started out in the industry it was all about the album, but today it’s all about making a hit single. Working on an album was like leaving a legacy, your own personal stamp in hip hop history. Times have really changed. How many people even bother to buy an album these days other than the hardcore collectors? Most people just troll through youtube or soundcloud and maybe download the occasional track. It’s sad to say but with the rapid rise of technology and the way we now access music, the days of the eagerly anticipated album could be confined to history.

 

Breakbeats & Rhymes Radio is hosted by Los Angeles Hiphop duo, Rebels To The Grain. The show is broadcast live each Sunday morning from 2-4 A.M. on 90.7 F.M. (KPFK).

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