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Wednesday, September 15, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 17

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Carl Hancock Rux impresses with spoken-word poetry and originality


Rux Revue

Carl Hancock Rux
Sony/550 Music
12 Tracks
61:40

Grade: A


By M. Kahlil Taylor
Daily Cougar Staff

Trash your thoughts on the limitations of contemporary urban American poetry. Carl Hancock Rux raises the standard and dissolves the boundaries. Rux, along with others like Saul Williams and Tish Benson, helps light a path for the re-emergence of strong-willed poets and spoken-word artists.

His debut album, Rux Revue, has been long awaited by poet and music lovers alike. In night clubs and coffee bars, Rux has absorbed the spirits of his audience only to re-express them in visionary rhyme verses.

Rux possesses the amazing ability to write about life situations with poetic creativity. Rux describes the feelings of a child reflecting upon the mental state of his parents during and after conception.

As if emotions transcend time, the child's view is omnipresent in "Wasted Seed:"

I came by way of structure and / Manic hated moon / I came through voice of thunder / Arriving much too soon / ... / Know I am because I am / I know that I came without shame for the night's mistake / I know that I came like smoke of embers on laughing twisted mouths / I am holding on to these loins between my thighs / Knowing I / am wasted seed ...

The voice expresses encompassing tones and raw, uncensored views on race, family structure, sex, religion, drug abuse and politics. It's poetry slamming head-first into jazz, funk, blues and hip-hop, an experienced delivery of controversial thought reminiscent of Nikki Giovanni and Gill-Scott Heron transposed into an Organized Noize track.

Rux often speaks directly to African-American culture. His eight-minute bombardment in "No Black Male Show" angrily assaults many concepts about the entertainment industry and the "reality" often tasted after one has signed a contract:

Warning: Broadway is only interested in you post-posthumously / Warning: Publishers aren't buying books about nuthin' but your tragedy / Warning: The record companies want to buy you and your publishing rights / with free Hilfiger gear (for the poem your father died for) / Want to mix it to machine drum samples that drown out the verse / Want uniformed theory about revolution / Want to edit all terse language that may offend the money people / Want to dress you in spandex, put a glock and a blunt in / Your hand and stand you under a Philip Morris sign / On stage at a bar mitzvah bash / They want your black ass, not your black art.

He remains versatile with "Asphalt Yards," a poem about Case No. 2675-B. The protagonists are children who have become unnamed in an unnamed entity similar to Child Protective Services.

An artist's value to society can be judged by that artist's ability to the affect his listener. Rux's music questions the concepts of his listeners without imposing the stereotypical "kill all" or "let's dance" mentality that restricts the overall growth of hip-hop culture and music.

Rux Revue can only be understood through one's own listening and comprehension.
 

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