Baba

Mind Music

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If Mystikal's credo is "Shake your ass, watch yourself," then Baba's comes from the track "Bounce": "Bounce to the rhythm, verbalize your vision." Baba's debut album, Mind Music, is the embodiment of its title. This is not gangsta rap or hip-hop-hurray rap; this is philosopher rap. Similar to the styles of De La Soul and Black Eyed Peas, Baba is more likely to wax poetic about the promise of the examined life than glorify misogyny or drug pushing. The NYC-based rapper shows how exposure and openness to a wide range of musical influences can meld into one complex style. You'll hear elements of dancehall, soul, and old school rap -- all in the same song, in the case of "Blues Man." Along with genre blending, Baba likes to layer the music to add the intricacy. While he repeats a simple chorus on "X-perience," he lays down another track of elaborate rhymes behind that. The clash of words requires you to use your brain instead of just grooving; you can decide for yourself if that's a good thing. With many intellectual endeavors, passion can take a back seat to rationality. Baba generally overcomes this, although it'd be a stretch to say the beats are infectious. The best rump shaker of the bunch is definitely his collaboration with DJ Logic on "Beatbox Logic," which combines Logic's great funk sense with Baba's didgeridoo and beatbox technique -- an interesting world music twist on an old school rap technique.

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