Various Artists

Hip Hop for Respect

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Inspired by the death of Amadou Diallo and organized by Mos Def and Talib Kweli, this EP brought together the cream of the hip-hop intelligentsia in protest against police brutality. The more well-known and popular artists were featured on "One Four Love," a two-part song produced by Organized Noize, the team responsible for most of Goodie Mob and Outkast's early albums. An intense, frantic, and bass-heavy beat laid the foundation like a southern-fried version of Public Enemy's Bomb Squad while the artists each dropped their two cents and then chanted the chorus in unison, reminiscent of KRS-One's "Self-Destruction." This song was not the EP's only high point, though, as the lesser-known and independent artists on the other two tracks more than held their own. "A Tree Never Grown," produced by 88 Keys, featured a haunting chorus sung by Mos Def, and "Protective Custody," produced by Mr. Khaliyl (formerly Mr. Man of the Bush Babees), contained a clever homage to KRS-One, sampling his classic anti-police song "Who Protects Us From You?" So often collaborations with such high aspirations as this one are burdened down by their own weight, but this EP provided a combination of musical excellence and fierce political activism rarely seen in hip-hop since the early '90s.

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