Blue Scholars are lame.
They are not ashamed to be lame, but lame they are.
On the breezy “Coo?” Geologic goes as far as to say that he “never had a dope flow – still don’t.” This kind of charmingly disarming honesty is what makes the Blue Scholars’ music work. Unfortunately, it may also be their downfall.
Rap fans are a judgmental bunch. If a rapper talks about guns, he or she is “real” if we believe them but “fake” if it can be proved that they don’t bust. If a rapper is abstract, he or she is “intelligent” if the music knocks but “pretentious” if there is no bass. Where, then, does feel good music fit in? There is no doubt that Blue Scholars are sincere, but is it a sincerity that rap listeners want to hear?
On tracks like the reggae-tinged closer “Cruz” the group puts forward a utopian slice of life perfect for beach cruising with the windows down. As I listened I saw women in bikinis, drinks with umbrellas, and flower-print shirts. I like all of these things. I also like rap music. Why, then, did all of this seem so unnatural?
I would like to think that I am the only one with these issues but I am not that naïve. The truth is that the last rapper who tried this kind of music had a show on MTV and was clowned endlessly. This is not Blue Scholars fault and they should not be penalized for it, but it is a reality.
It’s a shame, really, because the music is good. Very good, at that. Whether it is the synthesizer coda to the drum-circle-cipher “Bananas”, the gently licking guitar on “Coo?”, or the sparse Miami-via-Detroit thump of “Hi-808”, Sabzi proves that he is not a beat maker to be tampered with. Like Geologic, he has long since moved beyond trying to fit into anyone else’s vision of what rap should be.
I’ve said that the Scholars are lame, and they are, but at least they are willing to be lame. Sometimes the least cool thing a person can do is to try to be hip. Geologic and Sabzi aren’t trendsetters yet, but we would all be a lot better off if more acts were as true to themselves as these two sun-soaked brothers are.
I wish I could be as lame them.