The Rude Awakening, Cocoa Brovaz, 1998
Sometimes life reconnects dots for you in order to remind you of something in the past or to teach you something new. I just wrote a review of Black Moon's classic, War Zone and on that day, I watched DJ Evil Dee on Beatminerz Radio at noon. Evil Dee premiered a couple tracks from Smif N Wessun, aka Cocoa Brovaz on a collabo album with Pete Rock called Monumental. Based on the tracks I heard, it sounds like the album can live up to it's title. It reminded me that the album is set to drop on June 28, 2011, this coming Tuesday. I'm always playing classic albums so when I listened to The Rude Awakening again, I remembered how great it is.
Most hip hop heads know about Smif N Wessun's first classic called Dah Shinin'. If you didn't know about it and you like the tracks in this post, it's definitely something you should check out. The Rude Awakening is their second album, but their first album since they changed their name due to legal disputes with the gun manufacturer, Smith and Wesson. So again, Smif N Wessun is dropping Monumental on 6/28/2011, so make sure to check that out.
The track that most people will remember is the summer classic called Black Trump Featuring Raekwon (from Wu-Tang Clan). If you drive, this is a perfect track to test out your system.
From track to track, The Rude Awakening fits perfectly in the overall discography of Duckdown Records. It's completely normal if you wonder whether I'm on Duckdown's payroll based on the number of Duckdown albums I write about, but there is something unique about the music (and I'm not affiliated in any way with Duckdown). The Rude Awakening is at times dark, soulful, militant, intense, deep and 100% hip hop. Smif N Wessun/Cocoa Brovaz are from Brooklyn and I've run into Tek a couple times. Once I was selling tees down on Broadway in SoHo and he crossed my path. He's a really cool guy and I had to say "what's up" and give him a RA-NYC flier. It wasn't on the whole vibe like I'm a fan & take a picture with me though. It's NYC and nobody does that, other than tourists.
The Rude Awakening fits perfectly in Duckdown's discography because of the lyrical content/themes and musical production. If you go back to 1998, there was a lot of movement. Mos Def was shining, ATCQ, Slum Village, DMX, Jay-Z, Rawkus, Wu Tang solo albums, Outkast all were leading hip hop toward the year 2000 and there was the whole Duckdown label was pushing their team at full speed telling stories of discipline, loyalty and respect. I mentioned this back in the review of War Zone . These ideals are another reason the music is important, in my opinion. Plenty of hip hop heads like comic books, gangster movies, mafia movies, cartoons and kung fu flicks for the same reason.
The album features Professor X, Buckshot, Raekwon, Tony Touch, Hurricane G, Sean Price and Eeka Mouse among other background vocalists and singers that take care of the hooks. Several producers from Da Beatminerz created tracks on the album along with Suite 1200, Steele, Sean J Period and several more producers. When there are that many producers, I can imagine it's hard to keep consistency, but The Rude Awakening does not lack consitency at all. There's no musical theme to stick to, so the album can strictly focus on hip hop. Tracks like Bucktown USA is the perfect example of this.
Tek and Steele also had this dred lock, boxing, martial arts slash Jamaican style that represents Brooklyn and makes them unique. They have been in hip hop for a long time and they are dropping an album with one of the best producers of in Pete Rock. Collaboration albums like this have the capability to make history. Show and Prove?.... Black Star, Reflection Eternal, Meth and Red, Random Axe, Jay Z and Kanye, Bad Meets Evil, Gnarls Barkley, Murs & 9th Wonder, Foreign Exchange and I could go on for a while. Hip hop needs great production and unique mc's to really make history. So, as you can see, I'm excited. 6/28/2011 people!!!!