I remember when hiphop was young. Granted, I don't actually remember the early days of the genre, but I do remember when it was young to me. I remember listening to A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul every day for years, I remember the 36 Chambers, and I remember the conscious underground. But nowadays, hiphop and me are like long-distance friends—we'll catch up every once in awhile, but mainly just keep to ourselves. That's why whenever something comes along that gives me that feeling I used to get when I first discovered hiphop, I make sure to hold onto it and love it to death. Enter the radical, traditional, and politically conscious Blue Scholars.
Hailing from Seattle, a town that is starting to become a central hub for the next movement in hiphop, the Blue Scholars remind me why I started caring about this music in the first place. They are everything that Mos Def/the Roots/Common used to be—intelligent, progressive, skillful, and fun. MC Geologic boisterously raps about community, society's ills, and the state of hiphop, all in a classic style somewhere between Aceyalone and Ras Kass. Producer extraordinaire Sabzi also reflects a classic style of traditional boom-bap, creating beats that would make Ali Shaheed Muhammad proud. And while this is no new formula, the simplicity of their sound within a complex hiphop world is undeniably refreshing.
Entering into the PDIE (Post Don Imus Era), hiphop is at a critical turning point. With the long look society is taking at the music's values, it seems that in pointing out the negatives it is essential we accentuate the positives. The Blue Scholars are the prime example of what great things hiphop has to offer, and it's due time we grab hold of their message and usher in a new wave of conscious and positive hiphop.