Review Summary: Best Purp… er Best Hip-hop of 2008
Detroit – the nucleus of America’s Big Three, may be in the throes of an economic dystopian realization. Oil prices have all but destroyed the automobile industry, with over a third of (legal) residents below the poverty line. The current mayor is the first to have ever been charged with a crime while in office, after committing a laundry list of abuse-of-power infractions. Social and racial striation, impending mass closures of public schools, population reduction/emigration, drug and human trafficking, and police corruption only enhance this image.
Byron Simpson (Guilty Simpson) was born here, and his Ode
embodies the ghettos of Detroit.
Make no mistake, this urban exposé isn’t meant to be a deep listen; that is, Simpson won’t satiate your metaphysical needs. He sold drow, regs, crack, e, powder, weed. He got b*tches. He wants riches. He’s confused by women. You will find nearly every stereotype you can think of concerning street life… but therein lies the point. These are all real, and these are the things Guilty has seen and done, reenacted with superb flow control, in his bassy gangsta tone. Rife with humor and interesting intra-rhyme-scheme alliteration, there is never any defamation or encouragement of the lifestyle, only conviction.
Already forgiven for his obvious inability to write like a Nobel laureate, quite possibly the greatest modern tagteam of producers further pervade Ode
’s intended atmosphere. Madlib, the late Dilla, and the up-and-coming Black Milk infuse cutting edge progressive techniques with a dope, dirty boom-bap. While innovative, they maintain the bleak nature of modern Detroit, feeding off of and enhancing Simpson's content and delivery. The resultant forces are some of the greatest beats you’ll hear in hiphop. Seriously.
Without a single complete failure of a track (Simpson makes up for some of the weaker guest producers), Ode to the Ghetto
is easily one of the best hiphop releases of 2008.
The Best In Order:
The Real Me
(Oh No – Madlib’s little brother)
I Must Love You