One of the coolest things about hip-hop is the way it pendulums. Whenever it goes too far to one direction, in comes a force to balance it. Some would argue that right now, everything new tends to lean toward “cool.” And by “cool,” I mean young, trendy skateboarders, union square loiterers, and punk hybrid hipsters. And honestly, I think that movement is healthy for hip-hop. But just as backpackers moan and groan about the necessity of balance on the radio, Shuko is that answer to the neon-colored, skinny- jeaned.
The Foundation, a compilation of emcees rhyming over beats produced exclusively by Shuko, is an attempt to return, or at least to remind people of hip-hop at its finest: head banging, fist pumping, “I might smack somebody,” music. Shuko, obviously a student of Premiere and the likes, comes straight ahead, rugged and raw. No catchy, sing songy samples, no R&B singers, no nonsense.
And Shuko has enlisted some heavy hitters to rock. From Sean Price on “XL,” Talib Kweli and Rakim on “Getting Up Anthem (Remix)” Craig G on “Super M.C.s,” and even the obscure genius, Canibus on “Do This.” With names like that, do I really have to expound? Hard. Gutter. Great.
The Foundation is a gem for all hip-hop heads who still believe in, well, the foundation. For everyone who still believes in 1995. For 36 Chambers, and Illmatic fans. For dungarees and constructs, and a half-head of cornrows. Shuko is the man. One piece of advice for him though: contact M.O.P. Asap!
– Jason Reynolds