Mike Madriaga 9:30 a.m., May 25
1) America's Finest
2) All Around the World
3) Left to Right
6) El Dorados
7) Faded Night
8) Whatcha Doin'?
10) New Tradition
My favorite song on Global Warming is "America's Finest," only because it starts out with a live recording. The MC goes through the "whale's vagina" lines from Anchorman, and the crowd goes through the lines with him and cheers when he says, "Sawn Dee-ah-go." It sounds as if it was recorded in the Honey Bee Hive or a similar semi-dive hip-hop bar. Call me a sucker, but I fall for that crap every time. I like the distance of the voice on the microphone and the noise of clapping, singing, and whistling people.
Hip-hop is pretty easy to categorize if you're at all familiar with it. The Kneehighs are about partying, drinking, cruising cars, and picking up women -- "We're just good ol' boys with bad habits," claims one line. It's not "gangsta," and it's not that horrid booty-shakin' "lady lumps" crap that gets a lot of airplay these days. It's vintage Puma sneakers, Adidas sweatshirts with the stripes down the sleeve, and funky hats hip-hop or, if you prefer the loathsome term, "old skool."
The Kneehighs are a little bit N2Deep, a little Too Short, with Gorillaz thrown in. A few songs have the dink dee dink plinking of a Casio standup keyboard, and a couple feature competent, although not very sophisticated scratching. I think the best backup music to the MCs comes on "Left to Right," which features a pretty cut of a female vocalist mixed and juggled into a nice beat.
A good thing about the Kneehighs is they show a lot of whimsy, where most hip-hop acts take themselves too seriously. In one song they involve B.A. Baracus, and an MC appeals to Jessica Alba to be his girl and says he would "build her a cake or something." The DJ could tighten up a little, as could the production, but they can work on those things when they hit a larger scene. I'd like to see a major label pick these guys up and reverse the deplorable trend in popular rap.
--- Hometown CD Review 5-18-06