Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Coolzey - He Did CD Review

Modern science will tell you that, despite what you may have been told in high school or by your parents, time travel is possible. That is, if you can wrap your head around the quantum physics involved… and if you can somehow overcome the niggling little problem that we don’t have any idea how to act upon the quantum theories as currently laid out. Still, it’s theoretically possible. I know that time travel probably won’t happen in any of our lifetimes, or probably ever, but that’s why we have CDs like He Did by Coolzey.

This six song EP functions as a window into hip hop’s past, all the way back to the late 80’s and early 90’s when you could hear The Beastie Boys and Biz Markie on the then fledgling MTV cable channel and your school dance was just starting to spin those “hip hop” and “rap” songs to dance along to. He Did might not be the most original EP in the world, but it shows Coolzey continuing to indulge in his love of hip hop’s roots, much like on his last record, Asktoopid.

As enjoyable as it is to hear something that hearkens back to the days when hip hop was just becoming popular, it also shows how dated this sound is. For example, the track “He Did” comes off much like a Beastie Boys b-side. The beats, the lyrical delivery, and the vibe of the song convey a little too much Beastie Boys Check Your Head era worship. The following track, “Mentality”, is a decent mid tempo track, but the clich├ęd scratching distortion of the word “mentality” feels extremely forced.

Speaking of feeling forced, the song “Funny Rappaz” is downright cringe-worthy. Coolzey’s rant, traded back and forth with guest Animosity, on how he’s not telling other rappers how to be, but letting them know they are simply “funny rappaz” that can’t keep up to him, might not have been the best choice for a cut to include on this effort… or ever, for that matter. Maybe he thought he needed to put something out there to show he has some attitude, but he doesn't exactly have enough street cred being an Iowa based with little mainstream, or even underground, hip hop exposure.

It’s nice to be able to hear someone still making music that will get you to tilt your head sideways and look off into the distance awash in nostalgia, but that can only get you so far. There’s promise to be heard in the banjo-tinged “Trees and Dirt”, which also puts some soul on display, but if that potential isn’t tapped into and exploited, Coolzey is never going to make it out of the Iowan countryside.

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