The best local albums of 2009: BC on the Basiqs and Anonymous
The Basiqs, This Lie (The Jet Pack Chronicles)
Typically as a fan of hip hop I listen to artists who are neither lyrically nor sonically radio-friendly, save for spins on college radio, and maybe MTV2. Not that I’m a hater of what plays on mainstream formats — in fact, I wish I myself could rhyme on many of the tracks I hear by “mainstream hip hoppers.” It’s the content that’s often limited (i.e., money, cars, jewels, etc.) Which brings me to my point: The Basiqs (Gage and Mr. Sin) have managed to deliver the type of album that bridges the gap. This Lie (The Jet Pack Chronicles) sonically brings to mind artists like Kanye or Lupe, a touch of Black Eyed Peas, and even T-Pain with its sprinkling of the seemingly ubiquitous autotune effect. At the same time it is self-conscious of its sound and gives a critique rather than a glorification of the hip-hop celebrity lifestyle that we are usually inundated with. The best example is the title track, This Lie. It also manages to make broader social and political commentary on tracks like Hero and Dreamers, The album mindfully maintains balance though with tracks that will simply make you move like 80’s Baby and Rendezvous. All in all, a versatile and solid piece of work from some of my Tampa peeps. Check it out.
Anonymous, Sincerely Anonymous
For the last few years I have incessantly complained that to this day, Florida has a stigma as far as hip-hop is concerned. People looking from the outside in still think of us as mainly producing booty music, a la Uncle Luke. Anonymous (a.k.a. Chris Nunez) would be one of the many shining examples of a Florida MC that I would hold up to refute that stereotype, but sadly, he’s moved to New York to pursue his education. Seriously though, Anonymous’ new LP, Sincerely Anonymous, is a heady and lyrically dense album that you can really sink your teeth into. Anonymous, to me, represents a younger generation of MCs who has come to rhyming from a medium other than hip hop. His background as a spoken word artist has freed him to experiment with a range of different cadences over his beats. He sounds comfortable delivering over the eclectic production of his album which ranges from rock-influenced sounds (Sincerely Anonymous), orchestral (Garden Flute w/Roses), to even some more minimal spoken-word-sounding pieces (Taste Test). To top that all off, Anonymous delivers some of the most mature content I’ve heard from someone under the age of 20. But I’m not going to give it all away — go buy the album.
-- As told to Julie Garisto, tbt*