On credentials alone, the Blackman is an unheralded Detroit hip-hop original. The turntablist and emcee has been grinding in the city's underground for nearly 25 years; along the way he taught Kid Rock how to rap and toured as a DJ with heavyweights like Marley Marl and LL Cool J. And yet he's still somewhat of an unknown. Hopefully Collector's Edition remedies that. Blackman's first solo album is both the sound of a sage veteran and a virtual smorgasbord of black Americana. Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx samples join clips from Malcom X and MLK speeches, and soul, hip-hop and blues elements blend together with live and electronic instrumentation. (Detroit musicians Piranhahead and Soul Clique contribute.) Lyrically, Blackman can be funny but also desperately, controversially relevant, often in the same song. "Give me that scrilla punk/I got some white rappers in my trunk," he says in "Bobby Grape & the Polar Apes," before getting even more baiting. "Pick the gun up on the corner store Arab/ Charging you three times the amount of these goods." In the Blackman's lyrics are 25 years of frustration, observation and biting cynicism. But Collector's Edition also reflects the rhythm of the hood today.
Jonathan Cunningham writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at [email protected].
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.