10 Bucks for Blasphemy by Ya Boy Flow @raskass @apollobrown @i_am_flo
10 Bucks for Blasphemy by Ya Boy Flow
As opposed to writing the standard “here’s what’s great and here’s what’s not”-type review of Blasphemy, the new opus from Ras Kass and Apollo Brown, I thought I would just tell you why it’s worth the $10 in iTunes. You can get that kind of review on any other site, I’m sure. Nowadays, we are flooded with choices in music, some of them good, some of them incredibly horrible. So we have to spend our money and our time wisely. I mean, if you actually bought and didn’t illegally download just a fraction of what’s come out recently, you would own projects from T.I., Run The Jewels, Logic, DJ Quik, Black Milk, Stalley, Chris Webby, Boosie Badazz… And at $9.99 + tax a pop, these alone, and that isn’t even an exhaustive list, would cost you upwards of $85-90. But let’s not kid ourselves. You aren’t paying for music, homie. We may as well still have the bootleg tables up outside of liquor stores in the hood because we steal music like it’s owed to us. But that’s a commentary for another day.
Today, the goal is to tell you why your 10 bones matter and why you should invest them into this Blasphemy album. I’ll save you the verbosity and just give you the buck by buck breakdown. Let’s go!
$1: Ras Kass – If you aren’t familiar with this dude, you have some homework to do. Lyrically, listening to Ras is like a mix between Malcolm X and Iceberg Slim. The complexity in not only subject matter but also wordplay is unparalleled. I would put Carson, California’s Ras against any emcee in any era. From a technical standpoint, you’ll walk away with a lot of “HOLY SHIT” moments. When I listen to Ras, I keep my dictionary handy and Wikipedia open in Safari. (See below for my favorite Ras tracks pre-Blasphemy) You gon’ learn today!!
$2: Apollo Brown – Again, if you aren’t up on this Detroit-bred producer amongst today’s greats. We all know that there is essentially Dre, Premo, Pete Rock (and maybe 1 or 2 more) and then EVERYBODY ELSE. Apollo definitely holds his own with his unique style sampling and beat pattern construction.
$3: Ras Kass x Apollo Brown – Go back and listen to Apollo’s work with legends like OC and Guilty Simpson, not to mention bangers with The Left, Hasaan Mackey and Ugly Heroes. Mello Music Group has a gem in Apollo and his body of work is incredible. Ras and Apollo make a mean team like DMC and his Adidas. Apollo matched Ras’ content beautifully with raw, soulful stylings that give this record long-term listenability, a feat that is hard to achieve in today’s world of generic beats, rhymes and swag life.
$4: How To Kill God – This is what the album was originally titled. I have NO idea why that didn’t fly! (Sorry Ras. Flo sarcasm.) Not sure about you, but it’s been a minute since I heard some music that challenged my beliefs, my values and my thought process. Ras does that in 4 minutes and 51 seconds with this track. This dude said, “You search, it’s all true. That’s why I’m a cynic/Why should I believe in your God? He’s schizophrenic/Three personalities, give ya incest/Son his own father. Never had sex with his mama/Catch Holy Ghost. CIA killed God/Center of every pentagram? It’s a pentagon.” I mean, it’s like “Nature of the Threat 2014.” Along with your dictionary and Internet research tools, you better clutch your (insert holy book name of choice here) tightly and open your mind. Shit could get messy.
$5: Features – From the great Pharaoahe Monch’s reflective verse on “H20” to Sean Price come through bullying everything on “Drink Irish,” the features here are well-placed and all lyrical titans. The Lion to Ras’ Laker, Royce da 5’9” shows up on “Giraffe Pussy,” a title that made my wife laugh out loud, and gives a nod to Ras’ influence on his own career. And if you’re not up on people like Bishop Lamont, Slaine and Sick Jacken, then there’s an added bonus. No need for a late pass.
$6: Underdog Factor – Here’s my theory: I can spend either take the approach of not buying the music and maybe going to a show and saying I support my favorite artists. Or I can do everything I can possibly do to ensure I did my part in elevating the people I love and respect to the highest levels possible. I choose the latter. We need to stop bullshittin’ and kick in. We can’t complain about hip hop not having the balance it once had or the over-saturation of mediocre talent if we literally DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to change it. You can be a hypocrite if you want. That’s not how I operate.
$7: Maturity – If you’re like me and have been watching Ras’ career, you will notice that this is a great sign of maturity for him. From a diversity standpoint, we hear great storytelling here. We also get a variety of emotions from remorse on both “H20” and “Please Don’t Let Me,” to him calling all of us to action and more responsible artistry on “Animal Sacrifice.” Not often do you actually hear an emcee get better as he gets older. Somehow Ras Kass has done that here.
$8: Sway in the Morning – Speaks for itself. Check the interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SgbV7_w-Y0
$9: The Artwork and Packaging – People love Apple products for many reasons. One of them is the packaging. It’s the details that go into every decision. I appreciated the symbolism and simplicity in the album artwork. I encourage you to head over to www.mellomusicgroup.com and pick up the splatter double-LP. I can tell this was part of the marketing strategy and I appreciate that as someone who loves this artform.
$10: THE SHIT IS DOPE!!! The end. Buy it today on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/blasphemy/id909822088
Here are a few other tracks from Ras that I love, if you need some pre-work for Blasphemy.
“Nature of the Threat” – Soul On Ice
“Goldyn Child” – Goldyn Child (unofficial release)
“Behind The Music” – Endangered Lyricist
“Wake Up Show Anthem”
“Backpack Rap” – Chinese Graffitti
“Thank You” – Quarterly
“Scenario 2012” – A.D.I.D.A.S.
“Gods N The Hood” – Barmageddon
“Caution” – Unreleased
And my favorite song of his, “H20 Proof” – Rasassination