I’m clearing the decks of stuff I wrote for Hymnal that remains unpublished. Here’s a quick squib on Sophomore Slump (Vol. 1: Independent’s Day), a hip-hop EP from Jackson rapper Skipp Coon and his producer cohort Mr. Nick. Skipp’s got a new album, Love Letters and Freedom Songs, coming out in March.
Full disclosure: Skipp’s a friend, and I shot a video of him last year.
Skipp Coon and Mr. Nick, Sophomore Slump (Vol. 1: Independent’s Day) [Tibbit Music, 2010.]: When you hear Peter Finch’s famous speech from Network, all you normally get to hear is, “I’m mad at hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” That’s a shame—what the man was really on about is how the media controls everything you (think you) know, and how corporations are the biggest, most powerful nations in the world. That’s pretty ballsy for 1976, and pretty ballsy now. Skipp Coon carries on Network’s message with furious rhymes, spit (usually) at high volume, telling you “it is what it is” (song title), that it’s time to “fight” and “get mad” (two more song titles), and calling for black solidarity. Before you dismiss him as Another Angry Black Man who hates white folks, acknowledge that he’s right, that he expresses how right he is with more wit and warmth than you’re initially willing to admit. And, oh yeah, he doesn’t hate you, white folks; in fact, Jimmy Carter gets a well-deserved shout-out. Rather, Skipp Coon just doesn’t care about you. His eye’s on the higher prize—his Christianity, his family, his community, his good health (mental and physical). Luca Brasi and David Banner pinch-hit on “4-28-1967” (look it up) but it’s Skipp’s show all the way. Mr. Nick’s loping, melancholy beats adds sadness but the music builds up to righteous fury, with frayed edges, just as Skipp Coon’s lyrics get angrier and his voice rises. In twenty minutes, you get a coherent vision of black nationalism that’s intelligent, moody, and funny. Yeah, I said funny: “If knowledge is the key, why do I need to pick the lock?” And it’s even funnier that he uses Finch—certified white man—to get the anti-capitalist, anti-corporate media message across. The message ain’t got shit to do with Bentleys or glocks but instead black people stepping up to face the world that’s rigged against them and that rigs them against each other. He means it—don’t think Barack Obama doesn’t take some knocks along with white supremacists. Key tracks: “Fight,” “James.” Key verse: “We got plenty of males, we need more men.”