Monday, October 6, 2008

Soul Tracks

Great rappers have the ability to not only tell a story but take you, the listener, along for the ride. Jay took us on an emotional ride with 'Song Cry.' Scarface forced us to face the grim realities of death on 'Never Seen A Man Cry.' Brooklyn born MC Biggie Smalls took us on a journey 'from negative to positive' on the track 'Juicy.' Nasir Jones gave us a glimpse of life in his childhood stomping grounds, Queensbridge housing projects, also home to Marley Marl, MC Shan, and Roxanne Shanté. 'Project Windows' was recorded for Nas' 1999 release, Nastradamus, widely considered his weakest piece of work. However, our focus is on the mind-blowing track 'Project Windows.' Nas channeled the spirits of literary geniuses Langston Hughes and James Baldwin: "Black hoods, cops and projects/Sewers flooded with foul blockage/The gutter's wild and every child watches/Chains and top locks get ripped off hinges." Describing the projects as a 'mental slavehouse,' Nas touches on "the life of every kid, lookin' out project windows," from dope fiends and drugs to hustlers and hoes. Ronald Isley's heavyhearted vocals add to the brilliance of the track.