If your hunt is for those shining hip hop beats that don’t drop you until the last fade, and if your style is for party praise that don’t stop, then you might as well breath a sigh of relief.Producers: Riff-Raff, Brandon Broadnax
album release date: March 16, 2001
Not yet finished his teens, Riff-Raff aka Shawn Broadnax puts out a strong mix of skills that, aside from the evident rap elements also includes writing, keyboards and a genius touch for audio engineering.
Energetic, bright and racked with bounce, the DC-based artist burns tracks to disk compounded with his considerable gift. Formatted to thirteen cuts on Generation X, also joining in the festivities are MCs Enyaphace, Treasure and a crew of soulful vocalists.
Breaking ice off the top is "Good News", which slams Titanic-style with its pounding piano mono-chords, snappy rhythmic track staccato flow from Riff-Raff, who delivers the reality that the good news of Jesus Christ is embedded in this hip hop, ‘taking it to another level, rebuking the devil”.
The followup cut, “Riff-Raff is Back” moves in a similar groove but with even more edgy and snazzy guitar riffs. The vocal rap-hook snags all in earshot on this artist intro. Turning the boast upsidedown, he flows, “Don’t hate me cuz the trax I rock are hype, and don’t hate me cuz I’m doing all this for Christ. I know one day you will see that it’s not Riff-Raff but the God in me.”
Riff-Raff is generous with his use of guitar and keyboards on much of his stuff. This allows him to significantly depart from the darkly atmospheric tone of many of his holy hip hop contemporaries. It also serves as a great melodic base to play his rap delivery off of. His production style, while studio-driven, avoids the sterility that can plague.
Other cuts to memorize are “Best Friend” where Riff-Raff lays down a tribute to his older brother (Brandon), speaking of the serious bond both musical and spiritual that they have. On the title track, fellow DC MC Treasure (see review), joins in.
“Who Do You See?” concludes the album, and is a slight departure, taking on a rhythm and praise focus with a posse of vocalists that includes Jamone and Brandon Broadnax. The song says that when Jesus Christ is living inside us, that this is who others should be seeing when they look at us.
This is an independent project worthy of your exploration. Riff-Raff makes deep and magnetic musical and lyrical statements and with an overload of bump and head bop, it makes for an irresistible offering.
reviewed by Stan North —
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