The Conscious Daughters

Ear to the Street

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An obscure female rap duo from East Oakland, the Conscious Daughters were among the acts that the militant socio-political rapper Paris signed to his Scarface label, which was being distributed by Priority when Ear to the Street came out in 1993. Although produced by Paris, the CD falls short of the excellence of Paris' own albums. But it's a generally decent, if uneven, hardcore rap effort, and like Paris, the Conscious Daughters have a lot on their minds. The album's most memorable songs are also its most socio-political. "Shitty Situation" angrily describes the plight of a young single mother who gets no support from the baby's father, while "Wife of a Gangster" paints a sobering picture of the violent world that a criminal's wife faces on a daily basis. "We Roll Deep," however, is memorable not because of its lyrics but because of its effective sampling of a Lonnie Liston Smith jazz-pop instrumental from the early 1980s. The Smith sample brings a taste of acid jazz to the CD, but make no mistake: Ear to the Street is a hardcore rap album first and foremost.

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