Fusicology on June 30, 2010with 1 comments
EARTH AMPLIFIED NOW AVAILABLE
Earth Amplified, the new full-length release from Seasunz + J.Bless (self-released on June 21, 2010) is is now available. This seminal Green Hip Hop album features lyrics that touch on many of the environmental and socio-political issues of the day, highlighted by Oakland-based frontman Seasunz, who uses his virtuoso vocals to move effortlessly between melodic narratives, hardcore rap, double-time flow, reggae, and blues styles. Produced by Brooklyn-based J.Bless and multi-instrumentalist Golden Horns, the organic sound of Earth Amplified’s heavy, layered beats blend influences ranging from afrobeat, dancehall, funk and old school soul with the jazz vibes of Golden Era Hip Hop.
The album features guest appearances from stic.man (dead prez), Killah Priest (Wu-Tang), Zumbi (Zion I), Wes Restless (The Gents, Dynamic Vibrations), Rocker T (Jah-Warrior Shelter) and Jahiti (Brownfish).
Every movement needs a soundtrack and Earth Amplified is a Hip Hop anthem for our times. It bumps – and packs a potent message. The new album captures today’s sense of urgency as it illustrates the plight of the planet. Covering topics from food and water security, climate change, poverty and prisons, to the potential for social transformation, it is rooted in a fierce passion for justice. But this is no idealistic, hippy album. This is the conscious rap of 2010 – edgy, unrelenting, textured and melodically complex, unwilling to shy away from a real look at the world we’re living in.
The bi-coastal duo put out underground gem Solar Stereo in 2007 and they are excited about the direction of the new album. “I envisioned an album that gives a Hip Hop voice to the green movement that was soulful and authentic, and that could build upon the motto ‘act globally, think universally.’ With Earth Amplified we attempt to fill a void with one of the most powerful cultures on the planet: Hip Hop,” says the Chicago-born and current California resident Seasunz. On this album, producer and emcee J.Bless joined forces with longtime collaborator Golden Horns, to craft the organic, live sound of the album, which features Golden Horns on saxophones, flute and bass.
The album kicks off with the first single, the danceable, Fela-inspired “Lady Justice,” which is driven by an infectious bass and horn line and four-to-the-floor kicks. This ode to powerful women and the Mother Earth they inhabit shows off Seasunz’s versatility, with upbeat raps, falsetto vocals and the spirited blues refrain: “I know it gets tough in the grind sometimes, bills high, ain’t got no time, gotta keep on rollin’, gotta keep on rollin’.” In the second verse, Seasunz shouts out Angela Davis, Wangari Maathai, Assata Shakur, and Vandana Shiva for being fearless female revolutionaries.
“Global Warning,” featuring a fierce verse from stic.man of dead prez, describes a post-meltdown world, where citizens swim among skyscrapers and toxic waste spreads disease while executives and politicians pad their bank accounts. Utilizing a wailing high-pitched arpeggio and dancehall-tinged bassline, the song is an impassioned chant for climate and environmental justice. With a chorus that urges the listener to “take a look at the world around,” Seasunz warns that without action there will be “another 600 acres gone in the Congo and Amazon, by the end of the song,” while stic.man prods us to “go green, go solar, go agriculture.”
In “Food Fight,” Seasunz takes on a dark back-alley persona in equating the food industry’s tactics with the violent acts of gangsters and genocidal governments. Over a sinister jazz/rap fusion beat, he paraphrases classic rap lines while calling out genetically modified foods and high-fructose corn syrup in warning that “there’s a war going on inside no man is safe from.” In another guest spot, stic.man takes cues from KRS-One as he spits: “Suicide, it’s a suicide, don’t want no microwaves, no pesticides, fast food slow death in disguise, its the wild wild westernized world of deception and lies, what’s beef?”
“Water World” blends 808s and vocal samples of Seasunz with meditative bass and world instruments, including Youssoupha Sidibe on the West African stringed instrument Kora and master Tabla player Robin Sukhadia. In his verse, J.Bless takes aim at the “fiscal interests in your liquids” as he rhymes about the “stocks and bonds in your ponds and your reservoirs,” while Seasunz poetically drops science about the shortage of drinking water and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Both lamenting the state of water resources and professing love for its life-giving force, the song is a melodic journey in both content and musical arrangement.
Other notable moments include “Nitewriters,” featuring a classic cosmic verse from Killah Priest, “Hungry Money,” a look at the funny business of the financial bust with Zumbi from Bay Area group Zion I, the Tribe-inspired “Sunnyside” featuring a verse and chorus from Chicago-based Wes Restless, the fast tempo soul feel of “Not The Same Thing,” and “Any Day Now,” a revealing look at the real-world impact of the prison-industrial complex.
As the second full-length offering from Seasunz + J.Bless, Earth Amplified redefines the “green movement” and further expands the Hip Hop voice into new territory.
‘Lady Justice’ from Earth Amplified
1. Lady Justice
2. Hungry Money (feat. Zumbi of Zion I)
3. Sunnyside (feat. Wes Restless)
4. Global Warning (feat. stic.man of dead prez)
5. Food Fight (feat. stic.man of dead prez)
6. Water World
7. Nitewriters (feat. Killah Priest)
8. Storm Before the Calm (interlude)
9. Not the Same Thing
10. HWY 1
11. Any Day Now
12. On the Way (outro)
13. Defend Her (Bonus Track) (Little Island Mix feat. Rocker T and Jahiti of Brownfish)