Thursday, 15 July 2010
random nineties 12" number 11- Reflection Eternal - Fortified Live
Its crazy to thing this came out over 13 years ago and that to some younger hip hop heads this is Old Skool. This is another Rawkus gem also picked up from Deal Real in 1997. In fact I think I may have bought this the same day that I bought the Universal Magnetic 12", a good day indeed. I remember going into Deal Real with only enough money for one 12", £6.50 at the time and struggling to decide which I should buy. In the end I paid for one and got the other on tick and paid for it the next week.
I had heard of Hi-Tek before as I had picked up the terribly underrated debut album, Doom by Cincinnati duo Mood. Hi-Tek had handled the majority of the production on that album and I had been impressed with his Tribe influenced sound. I had not heard from Kweli before this 12" but was immediately impressed with his intelligent and easily understood lyrics that coupled iwth the guest appearances from Mos Def and Bush Babees member Mr Man made this 12" a must have. The beat itself features a nice crisp set of drums as well as a nice guitar loop taken from the classic U-Roy 7" Tom Drunk. The songs works so well with Kweli introducing himself with this classic verse
The highest caliber make it a night to remember like Shalamar
Then escape to Havana with a ? do what I gotta
Planes get shot down in Cuban air space over the water
I got insight it's a clear case of reading your aura
Man what you got for us as my Black men stand in line like a chorus
Makin' these MC's our sons like Horus
I'm always taking shots like a Japanese tourist, get the picture?
Flyer than Keyser Soze and no exposure"
Then Mos Def comes along with a typically psychedelic verse;
"I'm sippin wishing well water imported from Pluto
That's why my eyes is glassy, so ain't got to ask me
The interplanetary Illuminati move your body
I trekked the stars first, so fuck Kirk and Scotty
I threw basement parties on the Mothership
Now I'm on planet Earth on some other shit
Many 'habitants of this world be strivin and strugglin
Tryin to eat food and keep the rights to they publishing, huh
Ghetto red hot, man that shit is like bubblin
Can't get no peace cause the Beast keep troubling
Youth, they oppose and the blows they be doubling
Nike heads is trife and the shots, they be thundering
Ways and customs don't make any sense
They be givin me stress and they test my maintenance
Use the sand and the Ummah as my sustenance
No, this style will never lack, melanin's my evidence"
All of this taking place over the U-Roy sample and some nive vinyl static. It just works perfectly and introduces us to one of the most important duos of the late 90s golden age of indie hip-hop.
But thats not it the B-side is just lovely with Hi-Tek dropping one of his nicest beats ever. A mellow piano loop over some dusty drums with Kweli dropping some thought provoking lyrics without the rushed sound he sometimes has these days. To this day this is one of my favourite Reflection Eternal joints. About a year or so after this 12" came out I met Kweli with Mos Def at an instore at deal Real and they were both mad nice. They also dropped some sick freestyles that day. Check the link below for a rip of one of Rawkus's best 12"s and the U-Roy sample.
Switchin to Lionel Ritchie