Archive for April, 2012

Gerald Walker's new mixtape, "Believers Never Die," gives us a glimpse of what hip-hop's future could be.

Some time during college, I realized that I had pretty much given up on hip-hop. The new-school stuff anyway. Save for pretty much Kanye West’s entire discography, the majority of my iTunes was filled with 80s and 90s R&B and Hip-Hop.It was cool for awhile, you like what you like, right?I mean it’s not like I grew up on rap.

My parents didn’t believe in allowing my brothers and I to listen to music with explicit lyrics as a kid, so most of the hip-hop of the day was off limits. They kinda relaxed the rules once we got to high school. Pretty much as long as they didn’t hear it, we were cool. That’s when I discovered classics like Illmatic, Doggystyle, The Chronic, etc. This was also the time of The Blueprint, College Dropout and Get Rich or Die Trying, Stankonia etc. so at this point I had high expectations for hip-hop. Needless to say watching it devolve into Snap Music and Trendy Dances was a big downer.

Every now and then, though, I find a rapper who resonates with me. In 2009-2010, it was J. Cole. Last year, I came across this kid from Milwaukee named Gerald Walker. His mixtape The Other Half Of Letting Go was engagingly mellow, his flow somewhere between Krazy Bone and a young J. Cole. A few weeks ago I saw he had a new mixtape, Believer’s Never Die. I downloaded it, put a few tracks on my iPod, and let it sit for a few days.

Lot of good joints on this one. I really dig his athletic references (My personal favorites: It’s me hoe/Rap Tim Tebow/In this game full of sheep, I’m a shepard like Lito” and “Trying to ball like Kobe/But you niggas Rodney Stuckey) My favorites include the title track, Zero to Sixty87 Corvette Wishes (featuring a sick guest spot by Phil Ade) and Um, Excuse Me Miss. But Walker really shines on the Some Things Never Wash Out, where he references Boo Radley, Eminem and Michael Jordan in the same song and makes it sound coherent. Here’s a sample:

“Not every nigga smoke weed/Not all niggas are in jail/Not every man has a gun/Not every mother does her job/Not every father is a bum/Not every old man is wise/ Not every foolish nigga’s dude is young/Not every priest is a saint/Not every blonde chick is dumb/ It’s like I’m fighting battles that I’ve already one.”

If a guy as talented as Gerald Walker doesn’t blow up in the next year or so, hip-hop is in more trouble than I thought it was a few years ago. Seriously.