Friends of mine who know me well from this blogging hustle will probably be shocked as sh-t to see this post but I felt like I needed to speak on this album. First, some background:
I’ve actually known Rollie Pemberton aka Cadence Weapon, at least virtually, for a good few years from the early days of the hip hop blogging scene when he was doing his own blog (which may have been called Cadence Weapon too maybe [update: nope, was actually called Razorblade Runner and was still on my old blgoroll], writing hip-hop reviews for Pitchfork and just starting to do remixes. In fact, I might still have a CD of his early remixes he mailed to my old Brooklyn PO Box for the blog somewhere in my parents’ house. Will have to go look for it some time.
But while I’m a fan of his writing (even if I didn’t always agree with his reviews), I’m not so much of that writing when it’s shared via his music as a rapper. One of the great mysteries of modern music to me is why cats dig this dude so much? I’m sure many of you are aware that, as eclectic as I can be on this site (it’s been a long minute since you could credibly call The Kitchen a straight hip hop blog), I can be pretty dismissive of much so-called underground and alternative hip hop that gets online nerds moist. My dislike of Cadence Weapon’s music goes deeper than that though: partially I think it’s a function of just how much people seem to like him. I’ve heard him called the MC with best flow in Canada (!) and compared to sundry acclaimed MC’s as varied as Nas, Rakim, Guru and even MF Doom (!) which is beyond bewildering to me when my feelings on his music alternate between ‘Rollie’s a crushingly average MC’ and me thinking he’s borderline incompetent and questioning whether he actually knows how to rap. It just depends on the time of the day, mood I’m in or which of his songs I’m listening to at the time where I fall on the scale between those two extremes. Very rarely, if at all, have I felt anything more positive than that for his music.
So if you’re out there and read this blog and happen to be part of the CW fan club, drop a comment and help me understand what I’m missing here because, even though I’ve now had a few in depth and heated discussions with people who dig him on his appeal to them, I’ve yet to reach a point where I understand it, but I’m open to hearing more opinions on the matter. And for those of you not familiar with Cadence Weapon (that’d be most of you who don’t learn about your hip hop via decidedly non-hip hop media outlets), take a listen to his latest album, Hope in Dirt City too and drop a comment as to whether you agree with me, love the album and think I’m an idiot or fall somewhere in between.
[stream via Exclaim]