Keepers of the Lost Art
(Diamond Media 360 / Below System)
Shabaam Sahdeeq is real and old school. It starts in 1997 with a hot release called “Arabian Nights/Side 2 Side” which put him in the spotlight for a short time among the Ruckus Records crew of Brooklyn, NY including the likes of Talib Kweli and Mos Def. He also may be known through association by Eminem for his incredibly slick track ‘5 Star Generals’ which dropped back in ’98.
Put him up there with Pharaoh Monch in terms of technique. His verse style slices and dices through foes with rhythmical verbal assassinations. His ability to spit verse is such that it’s a shame that he hasn’t emerged out of the underground, but then again that’s his entire purpose.
Following the 1997 release with Ruckus Records he would team up with DJ Spinna, Mr. Complex, and Tiye Phoenix to form the indie hip-hop super group Polyrhythm Addicts and release the critically acclaimed Rhyme-Related in 1999. Since then he has been keeping it real low key working in the underground staying true to the original style of hip hop. Perhaps that is what he means by calling his album Keepers of the Lost Art. This isn’t an album that exemplifies materialist or hedonist fantasies like so many modern hip hop artists today do. It’s a lyrical revelation that tells a true story which falls nothing short of what hip hop is all about. He keeps it real.
Keepers of the Lost Art is backed by sick beats and production from the likes of DJ Ready Cee, DJ Dister, and many more who have been involved in the game for a long time perhaps the reasoning for the “Keepers” in the title. His lyrical-rhyming scheme reminds me of Eric B & Rakim’s “Paid In Full” and maybe a little bit of Ghostface from Wu Tang. It’s refreshing to be able to sit and listen to a hip hop album that still touches on the jazz and soul sampling that worked so well with east coast hip-hop for years.
The hook on ‘Speak Truth’ is off the hook! ‘OG Certified’ keeps it real with that funky bass. Clever phrases like “I get her off like a doctor’s note” are abundant, and Shabaam Sahdeeq keeps it real with ‘He Who Dares’. “I don’t do that pop-rap, it’s not part of my chain.” he says “But I ain’t mad at you fool, you can do your thing. I’m for riding and chilling still staying in my lane. The songs that I built ain’t for phonies that made lames. This is not for industry faggots that play games.” It’s pretty clear how much Shabaam Sahdeeq enjoys where he’s at, and so far he has no interest in making it big. Although it’s kind of disappointing that we’re still using this f word in hip hop perpetrating the stereotype that it is homophobic, but I don’t think Shabaam Sahdeeq means it in a literal way. It’s just clear that industry hip hop is mostly garbage, and the truth is still where the culture started in New York.