“No Doubt” – Jean Grae

They all alike, can’t understand, maybe it’s safest

To play the role and be another glitch in the matrix

The time has come to tell you of my feelings for hip hop.  I am talking about real, underground, lesser-known hip hop that puts the “artists” on the radio to shame.

I can thank the boyfriend that I had in New York when I was in my early 20s for getting my into it, and I am so grateful that he did.  It all started when he played me the first 30 seconds or so of a bunch of songs and had me say “yes” or”no.”  The “yes” songs were burned onto a CD entitled “Freakin’ Weeken'” in honor of the R. Kelly song of the same name (which I am not using as an example of excellent hip hop, by any means).

These songs sounded like nothing I had ever heard before.  Addictive beats that I could listen to for days straight and lyrics that were so clever and delivered with such amazing flow that I marveled at how any could be so good at it.  I couldn’t understand, when there was hip hop like that out in the world, how we were all listening to watered down pop hip hop by the likes of Chingy.  I listened to that CD on repeat during my ride back to the city on the Hampton Jitney.  Some lady asked me to turn it down because, “I can hear the bass all the way over here.”  Typical.  Sorry, I forgot that this is YOUR world.

I listened to the CD all during the summer of 2003.  This Jean Grae song is one of the “yes” tracks that made it onto that disc.  I love this song not only because it is perfect, in my humble opinion, but also because it is by a bad ass woman who does the genre justice.  I immediately wanted to be her and still do.

Super solid and beautiful beat, and the lyrics are simply ridiculous.    If I ever managed to put four minutes of words together like this, I could die happy.  It was nearly impossible to decide which lyrics to quote at the top of the post.  I know that some people have a problem with what they consider to be excessive use of “fuck” and “shit,” and I used to feel the same way.  But the more time I spend living in this world, the more I realize that sometimes those are the only words that fit.  I don’t feel like she’s trying to sell me some image of who she wants to be.  I feel like this is just someone telling a story about what her life is like, passionately, dramatically, yet honestly.

This YouTube version doesn’t have the best sound, so if you’re liking this song, please do yourself a favor and download a high quality version.

I plan to post a lot of quality hip hop here.  I feel that it is really under appreciated in general, and that’s mainly because people never get to hear it unless they seek it out.  It’s amazing what develops when the focus is placed on writing with meaning, which of course is what rap was originally meant to be all about.  It may not be for everyone, but I love it.

In summary: No doubt.

~ by starcollecteur on September 10, 2012.

One Response to ““No Doubt” – Jean Grae”

  1. […] time ago I told you of my undying and unparalleled love of underground hip hop (particularly from the late ’90s through mid-’00s.  I’m working on bringing my […]

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