Text comes thru at 9:00 am sharp…or “Born Degree” s legendary co-front man OOH of the Untarnishable BrownFISH would say, simply asking, “You Up?" "We been round this bitch makin music since 6 am,” was the follow up text, shaking me out of a mescalin type state this morning. Now sitting on Charles and Fayette at the foot of the Baltimore Y.A.P. headquarters, where during the day, Derrick Jones and Ian Smith are the un-caped crusaders for kids who need some direction and help to maneuver through a system that truly does not have their best interests at heart. This, a short pit stop during a hazy, overcast Saturday in Bmore on the way to the studio of long time in-house producer, Vonte “Vertex” Brown. As we wait for OOH, we snack on some cranberry orange scones and black mango tea for me and an egg a cheese breakfast sandwich and coffee for Jah…he politely stops a passerby and asks him what he thinks of the song “Once Again” from his recently released solo project, simply titled “IS”. It is unseasonably warm, this early March day, but there is a great energy in the air that seems to signify things to come for these pillars of the community, who are treading that line simultaneously as local hip hop icons.
For these full time champions for Baltimore’s at risk youth, their legendary “Water Music” sounds like the beginning of Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” meets Gil Scott Heron and Billie Holiday’s angry, illegitimate Reaganomics babies raised on Pennsylvania Ave. Watching this creative push for a new complete full BrownFISH Lp following Jahiti’s successful solo release, and OOH’s upcoming release of his own solo projects entitled “The Big 7”, a seven shot clip loaded at national headnods and the anticipation of his mixtape tentatively titled “The King Of Pops: James Evans Mixtape”, the work is nothing short of staggering. The momentum will have to be capitalized on with the buzz being created around “Hometown”, the first single from “The Big 7”. This song bolsters such nostalgia and pride for a city that has gotten a bad rap nationally for it’s less stellar activities. Even DC cats may be able to get behind this one.
Today’s session, sparked by the instrumental banger “Did It ON ‘Em” by Nikki Minaj, has been transformed into a war cry for solidarity, community, empowerment for young black men, while bridging the gap between the ages, knowledge of self, as well as sexual awareness for the hood. While remaining hard as a biiiiitch, these brothers rep middle class African American nation building pride, with Black Star Line, Lion of Judah like activism…on some rap shit. This is the official beginning of the creation of the next project, which is sure to be nothing short of their usual…timeless music, as presented on The Bootleg Mixtapes 1,2 and 3.
Many mainstream emcees have expressed in the past the difficulty with being able to spread positive messages, but remain current. This band emphatically begs to differ. Always armed with lyrics that Malcolm, Marcus, Bob, your high school English teacher and college Political Science professors would appreciate. With this, Jah and OOH are beating on the door of mainstream success with gold teeth, a jumbo Half and Half, a bunch of kids and all of Bmore with 'em.