Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Cassette Review: Uncommon Nasa "Written at Night" (Man Bites Dog Records)

In my twenty some odd years of listening to hip hop, I've come to the conclusion that there are very stern differences between what is good and what is bad.    It is in my opinion that anyone can create a beat-- just buy a drum machine or some sort of similar app for your phone.   Whether or not that beat is good is where the problem is.    There are beats which are original and do not get boring, thus also adding in other qualities of the music, and this is where the instrumental portion of the music becomes such a crucial factor.    Uncommon Nasa has these basslines which remind me of A Tribe Called Quest, so naturally I am drawn to them.

The second conclusion I've come to is that anyone can write a rhyme and try to speak it, to deliver it in a way which resembles rapping.   I've actually heard enough rap music in my time to know what is good and what is bad and there isn't ever really an in between area.   Most of the times, if it's not the music (as previously stated) it is that the person saying the words has no rhythm, no flow.   You can actually watch videos on YouTube of people reading their poetry (I'm trying to find the modern version of The Beats, don't judge me) and even though it all doesn't rhyme there is a difference between simply stating something and being a rapper.   You have to have a voice- which is something that cannot be taught- and Uncommon Nasa has that as well.

Recently, one of my tape decks had an issue and I had to get it fixed.    So while I was in the process of doing that I decided to take this other tape deck that I have and try to hook it up to these PC speakers I was trying to sell on Craigslist because they've heavy and shipping them would suck.   I managed to figure out how to combine the two together (If you want me to make an instructional video, drop me a line) and it's kind of odd to me that something in terms of recent technology could combine something like older technology but so is my life, right?

In any case, as I tried to make the two work together as one, I was listening to "Written At Night" for an example of how the levels should be.   See, these speakers have the two smaller parts which would sit up near the monitor and then the bass part which sits on the floor.    So, yes, I was listening to Uncommon Nasa while playing around with all of this because I wanted to make sure that the bass was appropriate so now every cassette I've listen to since in this dual tape deck that I've kind of MacGyvered using PC speakers, yeah, you could say that Uncommon Nasa is setting the bar and setting it pretty high at that.

I don't really listen to the radio but I understand why it exists.   When you have an artist put out a single and then you buy that album, you listen to that album to hear that song but eventually the other songs grow on you.   As such, I've been listening to "Written At Night" enough times now that I can say my favorite song (which would likely be feared by the radio) is "Looking Back" because of the chorus.  

"When we looking back
I can barely find me
When we looking back
I barely recognize me"

These words got stuck in my head to the point where one day when I listened to this cassette for maybe the second or third time, I started singing along with them in that Cypress Hill type of way.    And after that, it all just unfolded the same, you know?   This might be the type of cassette you have grow on you one song at a time and that's fine.   Then once you are in love with all of these songs, know them all inside and out, then and only then will you become enlightened and truly unlock the meaning of rap music.    Shout out to Open Mike Eagle.

$9.98 // Edition of 50 // https://manbitesdogrecs.bandcamp.com/album/written-at-night

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