If there’s
one indisputable word to capture the state of Hip Hop in today’s day and age,
then I say it has to be “polarized.” It’s the common belief that you cannot
have that rugged street shit or ill ridin’ music that simultaneously makes you
contemplate your role in society. Or that you cannot be smart, creative and say
anything of conscious importance without being weird and preachy. To the casual
top 40 listener that’s just how it is, but to the “true Hip Hop head,” as many
of us so pompously like to refer to ourselves, that is straight garbage. Thus,
I give you Philly native Chief Kamachi’s
Concrete Gospel.

Most
notable as an original member of the Army
of the Pharoahs
, his follow-up to the dope debut Cult Status, answers the long lost calling for intelligent street
music. The production warrants the first bit of applause as DJ Huggy & E-Dan bash brains in
with heavy guitar riffs on “Death Choir,” horn samples via “Jim Kelly,” keys on
“Little African Boy,” and monster drum loops thumping throughout.

“Scattered
Sermons” jumps out as one of this record’s strongest, as not only does it have
one of the most raw and melodic instrumentals, but Kamachi  and JuJu Mob
companion StateStore really supply
that authentic street swagger every rapper and their mom fails to emulate these
days. “Love 4 The Craft” calls out to trash rappers demanding them to stop
acting and get the fuck out the game. Kamachi’s
wordplay and delivery on the very methodical “777’s” makes it almost hypnotic
and is followed by the aforementioned “Little African Boy” which goes out to
inspire black youth to push through the destructive pressures of the everyday
grind.

What I love
about this record most is how he flows over the top-notch instrumentals with a
massive beating heart. Kamachi makes
you feel every single word he spits, which ironically leads to my only real
problem with this drop. Despite what the topic at hand is, social outcry, or
hood swagger, he sounds the near identical on each track. Where today’s Hip Hop
has shifted to award range and diversity more than say, ten years ago, Kamachi, can be a tad monotonous and
fails to show us very many sides of himself. He takes little chances as far as
the over all style and sound of his music from song to song.

Throughout
the majority of the album, however, what comes bangin’ through the most is the
man’s care and intensity. Had it been someone less talented, a record like this
would come off preachy as hell. This album however is a labor of love and
I have no problem with Kamachi as
the “preacher of the streets.”  The
knowledge is in the scripture.