The Great Debater, Skyzoo, 6.7.2011
Like a blindside car accident, The Great Debater doesn't give you any warm up verse to get ready for what Skyzoo is bringing to the podium. Complicated Rhythm is the intro track and it gets your head bobbing right off the bat on this free masterpiece called The Great Debater. The existence of this album was a surprise to me. I really didn't hear anything about it until the day it dropped. Pleasantly surprised is an understatement.
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If you don't have Live From The Tape Deck, you are missing out an a recent classic. A must have, Live From the Tapedeck is an album where Skyzoo breaks through and really takes off with his unique delivery while teaming up with !llmind prodcution. Before Live From the Tapedeck, Skyzoo teamed up with many of the same producers from The Great Debater to make his first album with Duckdown Records, The Salvation. I wrote about this album on my precious blog and I'll make sure to repost that entry because each album from Skyzoo is either a document of his growth as a lyricist or a document of his confidence/familiarity with the industry. If this is your introduction to Skyzoo, you are getting the opportunity to familiarize yourself with lyrics that will challenge you in a new ways. To catch everything, you might have to rewind a couple times. I know I have to. If you aren't that into lyrics, you might think I'm batshit crazy. There aren't many mc's that can get away with talking about AP English (and still have any credibility after those words hit hip hop eardrums). The truth is that Skyzoo's style is unique and I really can't pinpoint a specific resemblance that he modeled his delivery after. That means it's unique, my opinion of course.
The Great Debater's album artwork is hilariously unexpected. A family portrait of The Huckstables aka the cast of The Cosby Show is not what I would expect for album art. It's also funny because I really can't say with certainty how it represents the album. If I had to guess, it would have to reference the character Bill Cosby plays on the Cosby Show. Bill Cosby, the main character, a doctor, has not been the stereotypical portrayal of black men in tv or the media could reference Skyzoo's position in hip hop. Without question, The Cosby Show made history by doing something different, dealing with real life issues that portray an ideal of what black families are in contrast to what our culture was comfortable with. Skyzoo does this with intelligent writing and by simply proving his skills are better than the majority of mc's in 2011. There's no doubting his talent and that puts him in among the best. Coming back to this post a couple weeks after starting it and after watching the documentary below about the project, I can see that I wasn't too far off from where Skyzoo was heading with the album art. The Cosby's represented that goal of life that Skyzoo is pursuing.
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In my previous post about Elmatic, I commented that Elzhi and Skyzoo should team up for a collabo/supergroup album. The lyrical ability combined with the intelligent delivery they both naturally have could easily make for a great album. There aren't too many times that I've made that type of suggestion, but in the Summer of 2011, collaborative albums have already proven their potential. The whole Detroit/Brooklyn combination makes for a great mixture of styles that could be worth looking into further. Live From the Tapedeck being a collaborative project with !illmind, it shows that collabo albums can really create something unique. There will be more of this in the next week or so, fyi.
Skyzoo's affilliation with JAMLA can't be overlooked and 9th Wonder's work with Duckdown is not breaking news. He's released collabo albums with Skyzoo, Buckshot and he's worked with just about everyone on the label. The Great Debater was a collabo project with JAMLA, 9th Wonder's record label. The producers for the album are 9th Wonder, !llmind, Oh No, Eric G., Swiff D, E. Jones, David Axelrod, C-Sick, 14Kt, Best Kept Secret and Fatin. If you are feeling any of the tracks, make sure to download the album below in the links.