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Music Review: Blue Scholars – Bayani

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Hip-hop continues to emerge from all corners of America. The latest release from north-western indie label Massline Records — distributed by the landmark rap label, Rawkus Records — will be one of the sleeper albums of the year. Bayani is the title of the new full length release from Blue Scholars, the two man team out of Seattle Washington. The crew consists of emcee Geologic and DJ/producer Sabzi, two north-eastern rap artists. Blue Scholars musical journey is travelled with positive lyrics as the two attempt to out maneuver the system and leap over political obstacles.

Listening to this album will put you in a subdued, militant mood as you take in the message of Bayani. They bring consciousness to the party, thump to the marches and swagger to the sit-ins. Most of the songs have definite themes ranging from immigration, the Iraq war, Marxism, and Baha’i spirituality.

Musically, the two are on some other level, with complex piano arrangements and thoughtful verses. Together they craft a sound that is a perfect backdrop to their all too real songs. The entire album helps Blue Scholars live up to their album title name.

Bayani is a word found in two languages, the Filipino dialect of Tagalog, where it means “heroes”, as well as the Persian tongue of Farsi, where it means “the Divine word”. Blue Scholars are the new heroes, bringing the Divine word to the hip-hop faithful.

Sabzi and Geologic have rocked stages for a few years now, making a name for themselves worldwide and honing their craft.Their mission is to promote true liberty and become servants to the people. With Rawkus behind them, they shouldn’t have a problem achieving that goal.

The album has some really serious music; from the beginning prayer to the last stop of “Joe Metro”, the combined package of this album is one that you have to check out. Standout cuts are “Back Home”, a song which discusses the pain families feel as they wait for their loved ones to return home from war, and “The Distance”, a song dedicated to American citizens who immigrated, searching for a better life and leaving their homes.

“North By Northwest” slowly winds up before exploding into a horn filled, dance floor ready groove, while “Still Got Love” chops an OG classic before morphing into a bouncy synth bass track to clap along to. With songs like this, Blue Scholars should be receiving some love back from their new fans. Bayani is in stores now, pick it up for some uplifting hip-hop from the north-west!

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  • Good review Laron. I am less Hip-hop literate than you, but still loved this album, album. hope they get the success they deserve.