“July was looking good. I’d never seen so much Protest Music put out in a one-month period in my whole life –and from apolitical artists (e.g., Hot Boy Turk), too. Hip Hop was/is going back to its roots, with a big middle finger to the Man… But, then, on the last day of the month, the day before my 35th birthday, I lost one of my oldest and best friends, New York City legend Andreis Costa aka GuessWho? aka YME. So, I start this month off by paying tribute to my fallen brother, with a ‘re-release’ of an old record from his group No Question?, also consisting of Whatzisface? (featured here before) and super-producer Harry Fraud. Fittingly, I selected “T&C Surf Design” from the crew’s ‘Nintendo Mixtape’, a song that starts: “These cops is coming / Better start to running / When you see ‘them boys…’” So, the theme persists — about half the songs this month are political, and timely in addressing inequality, injustice, racism and police brutality.
‘Gangster’ rappers Uncle Murda and Maino make waves with “Hands Up”; Jay-Z even gets political, releasing “Spiritual” from the vault; West Coasters Mistah FAB and Fashawn contribute with the touching “6 Shots” and “Mother AmeriKKKa,” respectively; Kemba (fka YC The Cynic) returns for the second month with two more creative Frank Drake-produced socially conscious cuts; Nas/Erykah Badu and Swizz Beatz/Scarface drop iconic collaborations; and newcomer Nick Grant exposes stereotyping on my favorite record of the month, “Black Boy/White Boy.”
Plus, you’ll get your fill of that intelligent hoodlum shit, with new joints from some of my favorites: WestSide Gunn, Conway, Roc Marciano and Planet Asia/DirtyDiggs.” –AWKWORD