July 21, 2016

Lakim Shabazz - Pure Righteousness (1988)


About a year I ago I raided a handful of blogs for any and every link to an album I didn't have. I guess that's where I found this Lakim Shabazz album. I would have been chomping at the bit to play this when I was in high school (I was all about that dusty groove boom bap back then), but I'm in my dirty south days now, so this has sat forever in my library before ever trying it out. Glad I did. For whatever reason, I thought--based on the cover alone--that Lakim was going to have a corny and forgettable old-school or golden age flow, actually not completely true (well... I found it entertaining, at least). He has a surprisingly deep and commanding voice to go with a decently unique sense of rhythm. His vocal pitch falls somewhere between Big Daddy Kane and Chuck D and he takes influence from both of these icons; flow from Kane and inflections from Chuck. This kind of conscious rap is refreshing a refreshing listen for me after I've been away from it for so long. Some people might find this five percenter, afro-centric stuff a little annoying, but I don't have any problems with a positive message kicked by an inspired and dedicated person. The beats are exactly what you can expect: sampled funk drum breaks (shit like Trouble Funk, James Brown, Lafayette Afro-Rock Band, etc.), scratching on horn swells, and about everything else that comes with late 80s boom bap. Remember that Lakim Shabazz released this before Brand Nubian, Intelligent Hoodlum, Poor Righteous Teachers or Jeru The Damaja, which means he probably gave some influence to those kinds of artists. Pure Righteousness will be a cool thing to hear for any big East coast rap fans. It's only 30 minutes long, so it's not a big listening commitment either.

Sample

Pure Righteousness