Album Review: Propaganda ‘Crimson Cord’

Propaganda ‘Crimson Cord’

Hip-Hop is changing.
When once it was found in two camps – you were either a gangsta, a hustler where you were all about the bling, the colours on your bandana, and the hood you ‘rolled’ in. Your women were there for one thing, and if anyone stepped on your turf you would “cap their a##”
You were a fun loving creative type. You were about drinking, about smoking things that made you creative. You spoke of love as if it was something that you understood when the actions showed it was only skin deep.

But now Hip-hop is becoming a game changer. It’s the soap box of choice. It’s found everywhere… but is it any good and does it have a social conscience that is livable?

Coming out of the Humble Beast label is hip-hop artist Propaganda.
Propaganda has paved a way for himself with really organic sounding beats, creative hooks and a good ‘turn of phrase’.

The thing that stands out on a Propaganda album is that it’s all not strictly hip-hop. Some of the hardest hitting tracks are more technically ‘spoken word’ poems and it gives Propaganda the ability to really stretch his creative and clever lyrics… and it’s always challenging.

The album starts off with ‘You Mock Me’ – it’s typical Propaganda and a spoken word piece with layers of sounds and beats to give you a setting to place the words on. Propaganda is clever as he constructs the belief that he’s talking about someone, a father?… a girlfriend? … a child? … but this is a poem about ‘The Past’. Welcome to the 2nd album, this is going to be a musical mind trip.

The album really starts to take off when hip-hop artist Lecrae comes to the party on ‘Daywalker’.
‘Daywalker’ is a real foot tapper with Propaganda declaring that “this is what you get when you mix Tony Hawk and Ice Cube NWA and the Bones Brigade” – it’s a fun track that talks about the culture you are living in.

‘Bored of Education’ is a spoken word based piece that cleverly starts of with “Dear bored of education… so are we… so  are we” as he explains why the brightest stars in the education system start to fall and fail because the system isn’t made to look after the kids that are considered ‘not normal’. He points out: “Nick Luvanno runs his own design firm. And he failed the exit exams twice. FAILED”

The most hard hitting track on the album has to be the track ‘I don’t see it’ which is a real mixture of the clever and intellectual spoken word and more traditional hip-hop.
It’s a track that starts to make you uncomfortable. Propaganda asks the questions such as “one day you will make it… but what is it?”
and “You’re looking for new mountains to climb when you haven’t even conquered the first one, you ain’t done, you’re just comfy”

You see that’s where hip-hop cuts deep… it goes straight to the heart… it catches you off guard… and Propaganda is the maestro. He draws you in with clever lyrics and gravitational spins of word play and rhythm before slapping you in the face with your own realization of who you are by forcing you to look in the mirror… but also motions to what you could be and, more importantly, who you were designed to be.

I love an album that challenges you and that’s what drew me to this album. It ticks all the boxes and with a mixture of spoken word and hip-hop it keeps you engaged, alert and vulnerable.
There are tracks like ‘Daywalker’ and ‘How Did We Get Here’ that distract and you forget that you don’t want to be challenged, you want to be entertained… and that’s the whole point isn’t it? We want to be inspired. We want to be challenged. We want to know who we are… and so for that we are thankful that Propaganda asks the hard questions and gets us to look at ourselves.

Sometimes being caught off guard is the best way to discover who you are.








More Humble Rappers Please

Humble Beast

As you would see through my blog, I like Music… however almost even more than that I like discovering music, new music music that’s often left undiscovered by the masses unless people who like to dig and discover new music dig them up from the underground/indie treasure chest that many labels have decided to use to pave their way.
Now one genre I like to soak in every now and then is hip-hop… But I have to be honest I haven’t listened to good hip-hop for a while… or at least not good NEW hip-hop. All the hip-hop that’s on the radio is just boring and predictable… all about bling and girls… or a guy in bling and surrounded by girls in bikinis saying how poor they are (forgetting the fact they have a major record label and are on tour with 4 other major hip-hop stars)… I just roll my eyes and think “Oh please”

Hip-hop used to be authentic
Hip-hop used to be clever
Hip-hop used to push boundaries
Hip-hop used to say something that people wanted to say but couldn’t in a 3 minute song

What happened???

I grew up with groups like De La Soul, Jurassic 5, A Tribe called Quest, The Beastie Boys, Bone Thugs & Harmony and Run DMC, all groups that paved the way for other genres and hip-hop groups… and while not all of them had something wonderful to say all the time… they at least were pushing the boundaries to places that other groups had never thought about… and when they weren’t they were helping young minds to think about where they are at and what they are about. You can recgonise the root of where the music came from in some music today and a lot of the above names are the genesis point.

They were groups at made a name for themselves in the mainstream but kept their feet firm in the underground… where the people live and breathe.

However now these groups have for a large part gone to ground who is taking up the mantle?
Who is filling the void?

That’s why when I discovered the guys at Humble Beast. I was like “thank goodness… some good quality hip-hop that actually says something… but not only that… groups that push boundaries”
The guys are so passionate about hip-hop and what they have to say that they are giving their albums away…
And it’s good stuff… I mean REALLY good stuff!

Artists like ‘Propaganda’ who’s style sits somewhere between roots and beat poetry… it’s clever and it makes you think about the world you live…
Artist like ‘Beautiful Eulogy’s who’s new album ‘Satellite Kite’ is hip-hop that is rooted in the past while the lyrics and style are pushing future boundaries, and they’re already featuring in Red bull skate and surfing. No one else seems to be pushing the organic sound in hip-hop like these guys… While everyone else is on the beeps and buzz sound pushed forward by the likes of Will.I.Am and his Black eyed Peas buddies it’s great to hear  new sounds again.

They say on their website:

“Humble Beast is a collective of artists, who make music & resources.  With each production, Humble Beast aims to be compelling & authentic for our culture.  We pour our lives into each of these resources & in turn we give them away 
for free”

It’s good stuff… and they certainly are living up to what they said above… you’re not getting any dregs here folks… this is the Cream you’re getting here!

For free downloads of ANY of the Humble Beast albums click HERE!


Album Review: Propaganda ‘Excellent’

Propaganda ‘Excellent’ – from Humble Beast Records

You may not be ready to listen to this album… It might just be too hard for you to listen to… this album will stir you to your core and it will make you feel uncomfortable, yet uplifted… it will make you want to listen but not to hard… it will draw you close to listen and push you away to think…  because while the words and lyrics are beautifully crafted and thoughtfully put together into well timed and well  formed rhyme… it’s confrontational… not in a way that attacks… but to make you think… and you might not be ready to actually think about the art you’re listening to yet. Just sayin’

Right from the start Propaganda lays it down on the opening track called ‘Don’t listen to me’ where he opens this albums account with an honest viewing of his life’s credentials as as a human and as an artist as he says “Apparently I don’t know that much, I just know the Gospel and good hip-hop, I’m a pretty simple dude, all I’ve got is my all, and I promise to give you that”… where else do you get that sort of honesty on ANY record let alone a hip-hop album that are usually filled with people who will tell you how great their life is while you watch them crumble in the media. Propaganda walks the talk. 

This is not your usual hip-hip album, and once you’ve listen to it you’ll be forever grateful of that fact. Unlike other hip-hop albums that you listen to in the background, you won’t love this album until you are listening to it as if you’re sitting over the other side of the table from Propaganda… listening to his stories, as he unpacks his thought gracefully and carefully… but Propaganda’s not timid, he’ll lay it down… and you will be caught off guard… 

Propaganda’s style is relaxed… and sit somewhere between ‘spoken word’ and traditional hip-hip and it’s both poetic and aggressive… and it’s a great mixture as it keeps you fully engaged…
While on the subject of the mix, the beats and music have been put together by Beautiful Eulogy, who add their unique mix of electronic acoustic blues based music… it’s organic and is a perfect mix for an album like Propaganda’s.

There is too much on the album to pull out just by itself, however… every now and then there will be a phrase or a line that will just catch you off guard and you’ll HAVE to think about it. Propaganda doesn’t play with words like some common hip-hop artist, this stuff it top shelf… it’s crafted… and it’s honest… and it’s powerful.
Propaganda knows his history and and on tracks like ‘Precious Puritans’  he slams knowledge on the table as if to say “now here’s the facts what’s your next move?” as he beautifully and excellently pleads

Your precious Puritans were not perfect, you romanticize them as if they were inerrant, as if the skeletons in their closet was pardoned due to their hard work and tobacco growth, as if abolitionists were not racist and just pro-union, as if God only spoke to white boys with epic beards, you know Jesus didn’t really look like them paintings, that was just Michelangelo’s boyfriend.”

You might not be ready for this album, because if you buy this album just to listen to it as any other hip-hop album, one day you’ll find yourself having to confront some issues that propaganda has laid down for you to consider… HOWEVER… if you buy this album to think, like a book or a conversation  with a close friend talking about of tough issues then you’ll come out enjoying this album… rewinding… reviewing… re-listening… rediscovering.

Treat this album like a friend… and learn to listen… wrestle with some of the words that Propaganda has to say… I’m not saying take it as Gospel, I’m just saying try to understand… and when you do then you’ll find it is indeed ‘Excellent’

You can buy this album for FREE HERE…   or if you want to support the artist you can buy it from your countries iTunes store.
Or by visiting the humble Beast Records website.



Introducing the Father of Lies

I first saw this video posted by underground rap label ‘Humble Beast ‘ and LOVED it.

Inspired by the verse John 10:10 “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” this fun video takes the verse and puts it to song… from the Devils point of view.

In the words of Satan.

Are you getting bored with main stream hip-hop?

Graffiti "Hip Hop" in Eugene, Oregon.

Image via Wikipedia

Do you like hip-hop but are tired of hip-hop that is dumbed down by people who think that hip-hop means they should glorify drugs, they should beat up their women, who think it’s cool to beat up on someone and who give a one sided slanted view of politics based on the need to legalise drugs of some description.

Then I have some great news… check out the awesome hip-hop artists at this site has some great artists that are inspiring and are clean… Isn’t it great to able to share your love for hip-hop to your kids and play it in the car without having to skip tracks that are full of profanity?

Or isn’t it great to be able to teach your kids that all hip-hop doesn’t talk about their mum as a ‘bitch’ or a ‘whore’… and who’s artists work hard at finding words that express what they feel rather than settling for the first F**k word as a filler!

If you would like to know what to expect I’ll let Propaganda and Odd Thomas what to expect from their new record.