Older heads often look back at the eighties with fond memories and rightfully so. That decade saw the arrival of the Air Force One sneaker, countless classic albums and the rise of Hulkamania. 1988, in particular, was smack bang in the middle of the first golden era of Hip Hop. That’s where Sareem Poems and Newselph begin this musical journey while carrying us into the present day.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a throwback project aimed to cash in on nostalgia. It is very much a forward-thinking manifesto of two men who have survived in the valley and thrived on the mountain top. The chemistry between emcee and producer is impactful from the opening and sparks loving recollections of dynamic duos like Gang Starr and Run The Jewels. Each man does their job and does it well. Newselph provides a slew of chunky slaps with live instrumentation peppered all over. However you like your beats – stripped down or beefed up – there is a lot here for you to sink your teeth into here. Sareem Poems’ verses strike a skillful balance between youthful spirit and hard-earned wisdom in all his stories. He speaks life into his children and provides them with life-saving game on I’m Right Here. He lets his two boys know that even though they are a potential target in ‘Merica, they are still fearfully and wonderfully made. The project closes with the epic Matters Of Man two-piece which feature Chris Orrick and label-mate Sivion. Sareem and friends honestly tackle the idea what masculinity is, and more importantly, what it isn’t.
So prepare to look back, and then go forward. 1988 was a dope year, but the “now” is even better.
88 To Now released Friday 13th September 2019 on Illect Recordings. Buy Vinyl LP, CD packages, Lyric Book and more on Bandcamp.
88 To Now track list
1. Kick’n It
2. This Life (feat. James Gardin & Macklyn)
3. No Fly Zone
4. I’m Right Here
5. Omni ? 1
6. In N Out (feat. Composetheway)
7. The Feels
8. Omni ? 2
9. Piece Of Peace (feat. Ozay Moore)
10. Matters Of Man (feat. Chris Orrick)
11. Matters Of Man Chptr 2 (feat. Sivion)