Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hip Hopera Example I

A concept album is vaguely defined as an album in which a unifying concept or central idea is projected throughout the albums entirety. I use the word vaguely because that is an exception rather than the rule. That said, in hip hop there have been several attempts to create a concept piece, where all the songs and skits contribute to a (by and large) singular theme. Some of these aforesaid efforts fall short because put simply, not all the songs and skits are in sync partly because they fail to drive home the suggested premise(s). In my humble opinion while the songs on a concept album are supposed to contribute to its theme, a good indication of a stellar concept album- a litmus test if you will- is if the songs can stand on their own.

Tricks Of The Shade

I don't know how many people remember The Goats, for that matter even know who The Goats are. Nevertheless, Tricks of the Shade, is a must have for any true hip hop enthusiasts. My boy Toothpick (He was called Toothpick for obvious reasons) put me on back in the 6thDoggystyle and The Chronic, I was reciting the lyrics to Wrong Pot to Piss In and Hip-Hopola. The album plays like an urban concerto; with the trio's ganja laced politically charged lyrics standing out against stellar production ushered in by Joe Nicolo (Boo Yaa Tribe). Their story tells the tale of brothers, Chicken Little and Hangerhead as they journey through Uncle Scam's Federally Funded Welfare and Freakshow in search of their mother who was jailed for having an illegal abortion. Through these characters as well their politically conscious and Mary Jane innuendo music, The Goats are able to tackle several issues including the genocide of Native Americans in pre-colonial America, police brutality, abortion amongst others; ultimately suggesting that minorities were [still are] getting the shit end of the stick. It should be noted that all the songs featured on Tricks Of The Shade do not completely contribute to the album's concept; still all the skits in which the aforementioned brothers meet some very colorful characters reinforce those suggested ideas. TURN OFF THE RADIO!

The Goats- Wrong Pot To Piss In

The Goats- Hip Hopola

The Goats- Whatcha Got IS Whatcha Gettin

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