Culture

Sven Barth’s Endless Vinyl Knowledge: C-Rayz, Scienz of Life, Van Morrison

C-RAYZ
“It’s A Wrap/Peroxide” – 12″ Single

Starting in reverse, I’ve been listening to way too much Marley Marl lately. So much that I can’t even try to find originality in the beat for “Peroxide,” the b-side off the single “It’s a Wrap” by C-Rayz. Now, this doesn’t mean that his flow rides the same path- actually, yeah it does. I’ve heard this before. Sadat X?!! – what the hell are you doing on this album? Didn’t Brand Nubian kick you out of the rap world years ago? Tribute lines like “A gaseous element, burnt down your ministry,” mixed with a hook sampling Jay-Z (a la Premier), lend little street credibility to a rapper claiming to be the “antidote” to pop-rap. However, if you can get passed all that, or if you don’t know your hip-hop history, “Peroxide” is quite a little head-nodder for the 15-year-old backpacker in all of us.
“It’s a Wrap”: It’s interesting that this is the title track, considering that it’s on side A… Think about it, do you really want to listen to anything after hearing, “You are the weakest link, goodbye! It’s a wrap/ I’m black”? Probably not. But, that beat is, for lack of a more urban word, “infectious.” A little bit of Salsa flavor makes it tolerable enough for me to not want it to stop, at least for a little while. Hopefully our young rapper will “C” the errors in his “Rayz,” before the entire LP drops.

Scienz of Life
Project: Overground – 12″ LP

Scienz of Life would have a fantastic album here, but, you can’t claim to be the saviors of hip hop when your music is obviously inspired by, well… the Roots, Tribe and Talib Kweli, amongst others, and your songs have hooks like, “Whatever happened to original rap?” Although, some original lines, i.e. “medulla oMblongata”, follow these hooks (I’m still not sure what the extra “M” in “oMblongata” stands for) they don’t do much to get me to believe in you fellas. But, I won’t let that stop me from praising this 12″. Their flow is nice, and sometimes, as on the M.F. Doom guest spot, nicer than plain nice, which is nice. I’m backing up: Scienz of Life can kick it in my vinyl collection for a while. “Reminiscing of a Coltrane Vibe…” is a little forced, but I’m still feeling it. A few too many wack intro skit slips, but other than that, it’s rather solid. I’m holding on to this one. The beats are nice, and at least they draw their style from someone more admirable than Sadat X. Sorry again, C-Rayz, but “It’s a Wrap.”

Sven’s stellar vinyl pick

Van Morrison
Moondance – 12″ LP

What can I say about Moondance that all the old people who’ve heard this album haven’t already thought? Well, I think this album embodies all that being a singer/songwriter should, and it does so perfectly. Each song reveals just a little more about Van Morrison, without giving all of him away, and it gives this album that sort of curious feel. Because of this, I always end up getting up to flip the record, again and again. Without this album, my appreciation for music recorded before 1980 would have been limited to Oldies 104.3 WOMC, back in Detroit. If you haven’t heard of this album, or Van Morrison for that matter, definitely check your pulse. Chances are that you’re some kind of modern miracle – either a dead man reading or just terribly stupid. Ok, enough brown-nosing, this album should not be overlooked, simply stellar, go pick it up and so forth.

Sven Barth can be reached at big_sven@hotmail.com

September 20, 2002

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