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Volume 71, Issue 135, Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Life & Arts

Rhymefest flaunts talent in 'Blue Collar'

Despite his Grammy, hip-hop artist gets first album out

The Daily Cougar

Rhymefest is an artist who's been making moves behind the scene. The Chicago artist's Blue Collar is his first release, but he's been around for a while. He beat Eminem in a battle in 1997 and made history two years ago by winning a Grammy before releasing an album for co-writing Kanye West's 2004 hit "Jesus Walks."

"This is an album where you listen to it and get a lot of entertainment value but will always come back years later and get something new out of, kind of like the Bible," Rhymefest said.

First is the Just Blaze-produced "Dynomite." The catchy track features a nice sample, and ‘Fest explains, "I've got the world in my hand / I've got a plan, I've got the Bible and the Qu'ran."

"Brand New" is the hit single from late 2005. West produced it and appears on the chorus, and West and Rhymefest have great quotes. West explains, "I make black history everyday / I don't need a month / Ralph Lauren was boring before I wore him," and Rhymefest has a quotation that every guy can agree with when it comes to hanging out with women: "Why spend an arm and a leg, when we can kick it for free?"

On "Get Down," Rhymefest refers to his historic accomplishment: "This is history / What rapper you know before his record drops is a Grammy winner? Me."

"All Girls Cheat" produced by super producers Cool and Dre, features a chorus from R&B artist Mario: "Women do the same thing men do, they cheat, but they're a little better at it than we are / They plan it out."

"More" is another great Cool and Dre-produced song with West on the chorus. The subject matter is great, something that's rarely discussed: the misconceptions people have of the lives of celebrity figures. West explains, "I want more, no matter how much / I want more, every party on every list / I want more, and everybody wants a life like this / But still I want more." Then Rhymefest talks about how things aren't what they seem to fans by explaining, "You're saying to yourself, ‘If I had what he had …' but if you had what he had, man, you'd be mad."

On "These Days," Rhymefest refers to Diddy's 2004 "Vote Or Die" campaign, explaining, "Some of these days it feels like Puffy lied / Because I ain't vote, and I ain't die."

On "LSD," Rhymefest teams up with another R&B star, fellow Chicago artist Carl Thomas, for a song about growing up in Chicago.

"Build Me Up" a funny song about girl problems, features the late, great Ol', Dirty, Bastard, of The Wu-Tang Clan comically singing the chorus, which is the chorus from the The Foundations' classic "Build Me Up Buttercup."

I recommend "Blue Collar" because it features great beats and lyrics, and varied subject matter.

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