Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
Most of my friends started skating around the time we were in middle school. This was when Green Day, The Offspring and Rancid started breaking on a very mainstream level and as such, my eyes were opened to punk rock. My friend Nick's sister was a few years older than us and would always play records we'd never heard in her car and give him new stuff to listen to thus giving our whole group of friends an 'in' to more under the radar stuff. A lot of her friends were skaters too so there would always be skate videos floating around for us to check out. The video that made the biggest impact on me was Plan B's "Virtual Reality." I was never able to skate because of my physical condition, but that video kind of set the bar in my mind. And as cool as I thought skating was, I was much more into digging for new music through those videos than trying to get inspiration for new moves. In "Virtual Reality" the songs that stood out to me the most were the Casual tracks in the background of Sean Sheffey and Mike Carroll's segments. I drifted away from listening to hip-hop a few years before this because punk was consuming all of my musical interest, but also because I didn't know where to find more of the laid back, jazz influenced stuff like De La Soul and Tribe I was into as a kid. Hearing Casual and others made me realize that if this stuff was out there, there had to be more.
While Casual isn't the most widely known of the Hiero crew, Fear Itself is definitely one of the best albums to come from their clique. His voice is bassy and his flow is excited, but still sounds smooth against the sped up horn samples and electric piano beats Domino is known for. Fear Itself will forever remind me of summers staying out drinking, getting into trouble and wishing I could skate in the best way. Definitely an essential 90's West Coast Hip-Hop record.
Casual - Fear Itself