Delorean @ The Church in Philly
Lemonade, Light Pollution
Mon, November 22, 2010
First Unitarian Church
2125 Chestnut Street
-Part of the undeniable power of hip-hop is the unparalleled accessibility of the genre: Two fists smelting rhythm from a hard surface coupled with some lunch-time spit covers the outermost criteria. It paves a road all are free to walk. Most of us do – at this very fundamental level the majority of us have qualified as emcees and producers at one time or another.
If it could all be so simple.
We know the song’s notes by wrote – the road is quickly thickened with obstacles. The allure that loomed large as the sun shrinks to a dime-sized candlelight of hope to navigate by. Friends stop supporting; strangers fill the void with a lotta hate. It gets dark. All too often it gets violent. The heart breaks and the artist jerry-rigts together a blade of fierce determination from the splinters. People go broke, get depressed. Cynical. They turn in their weapons and head back, or maybe just take up a safer position. Maybe spend a good-enough amount of hours in a month making good-enough music. Do a good enough number of shows over time until there’s enough self-respect recovered to retire, perhaps.
5th Ave has never settled for good enough. He’s gone for broke every single time. And if you listen to Chapter 7 (hurryupandgodoitnow) you’ll know that he’s gone broke doing it. He’s shared the stage with the likes of NaS, Pete Rock, Little Brother, Killah Priest, DJ Qbert, Planet Asia, 2 Live Crew, Pigeon John, C-Rayz Walz, and Del the Funky Homosapien. He conceptualized and founded The Neighborhood Watch, a Sacramento based den of hip-hop virtuosity. He’s broken through on Seattle radio recently (doing a guest feature for J.U.S.T.I.C.E League member Legacy) and still takes time to do free features for anyone in the city.
“And then you mix in Jon Reyes and the rhythms get involved.”
Jon Reyes is something of an anomaly in a game that’s increasingly tipping the scales in quantity’s favor, much to quality’s chagrin – He takes his time. He’s no slowpoke (no slowpo?) either; he’s a craftsman through and through. Its likely why while Soul-Samply-Samplerson is burning his latest table coaster full of “bangers” Jon has built up a resume full of lip-smackers stretching up and down Northern California, laying down tracks for NAM, the brutally honest Random Abiladeze, The Foulmouths, State Cap’s Bosse, and even Illiteracy members Adriel Luis and Dahlak. He gets a feel for what each artist, each song is about, and then authors the beat’s topography from the ground up. If you’re in a listening session and a Jon Reyes production comes on, if the sheer difference in quality doesn’t tip you off, its likely someone else in the studio will – they’ll turn it up, and with an ear-to-ear grin iterate their compliments to the chef.
The game doesn’t need anymore “good enough” anything. In a “post-lyrical” moment of transition, the game just needs people willing to give it their absolute all. To generate the force of will capable of pulling the topography in any and all directions it can possibly go.
You need some guys like Delorean, to be perfectly honest. There’s no empty projection – no one’s giving you what they think hip-hop should-maybe-like-sorta-I-guess sound like. That type of weak-persona holography is precisely what has nearly bankrupted an entire generation of artists. You get them – 5th Ave and Jon Reyes. Its a risk they are more than willing to make. In order to attain the impossible, you gotta attempt the absurd.
The thoughtful and supremely precise articulation make it wordcraft. The infusion of nuanced, deeply explored honesty and an unflinching vulnerability makes it art. Jon Reyes’s masterwork performance on the boards – scoring the deft navigation through alternating mood and metaphor with symbiotic cohesion – alchemizes it into testament. And its resonance with a generation of hard-luck youth whose resilience in the face of abandoned promises is the story of the post-civil rights era proves it a success.
This is a journey through the heart – the only vehicle built for traveling through space and time. Strap yourselves in.