Super Chron Flight Brothers - Cape Verde
This is a record that narrowly missed my Top 50 Records of 2010 list on the initial draft, and then as time went on spent away from it, it drifted further down the pipeline into my own mental obscurity. I understand why, but it’s kind of a shame. Don’t get me wrong, I really dig and respect the fact that Super Chron has the balls to be doing pretty faithful backpacker hip-hop in a day and age where the only person who gives Talib Kweli the time of day is Kanye West. Certainly, Priviledge and Billy Woods are talented MC’s, and the production - futuristic boom-bap laced with 8-bit Nintendo blips, infomercials, and a wide array of inventive sampling - is top-notch, but the problem is that it struggles to be something memorable when it’s not sitting right in front of you. Maybe I’m getting old, but I need a hook these days. When I was a younger man, four verses of lyrical acrobatics rote with social commentary and pop culture name-checks was like the moment when the scrambled porn channel cleared to show a perfectly framed pair of tits. Nowadays, someone has to wake me up when Busdriver’s guest verse ends. Much like punk rock - and most other chiefly American genres - writing a hook is perceived as a sign of weakness in hip-hop, especially to those who exist and create on the fringe of the genre, where the density takes place of the accessibility, and in such a case, I’m sure that if they ever saw this, SCFB would probably take it as a compliment. Sure, you’ve got backpack yesteryear’s superstars on the record, but they’re the Garfunkel and Oates of their respective duos (Cannibal Ox’s Vordul Mega and Company Flow’s Big Jus). I don’t mean to make it sound like the album is bad, it’s not, and when I’m actively listening, it’s a very rewarding spin. The fun tracks like “Rap City” and “Reggie Miller” knock the formula out of the park, but at the end of the day, it’s still a formula, and at that one that’s been done (better) a number of times before.