Underground B-Boy Life

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It’s common for emcees from hip hop’s golden era (1986-95) to avoid tags such as “old-school.” Motor City vet Falah ain’t that guy. He embraces his inner Beat Street, and dares you to call him anything but old-school. Vocally, he’s part Kool Keith, part Andre the Giant. His high-pitched delivery and anxious cadences set the tone here, and he uses each song to herald hip hop’s glory days. Biters, black women, graffiti artists and break dancers populate his mantras, and he celebrates them over classic break beats that push live DJ scratches to the forefront at nigh 100 beats per minute.

“Give It All You Got” is Falah’s pep rally for lovers of authentic hip hop. He sends a strong message on this — as on many of his songs — through extended endings and hyperactive arrangements. Think Big Daddy Kane’s “Lean on Me” remix. This practice will undoubtedly test the patience of hip-hop fans who view canned radio rap as the real pudding. But with interludes clipped from seminal hip-hop films Beat Street and Wild Style, it’s clear that Falah couldn’t care less about canned pop rap.

A cadre of cohorts, including Dogmatic, Wax Tax ’N Dre and Spec and Doc Soos of 3rd Kind, make this a Detroit affair spanning nearly three decades. It’s an ear-curling nod to hip hop’s heyday.

Khary Kimani Turner writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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