Artist: Code Red
Album: Diggin’ For What? EP
Label: 502 Headz Records
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
Code Red were formed in 1998 and are out to prove that they’re the best thing to come out of Kentucky since Colonel Sanders’ drumsticks. Now when I mentioned that these guys were from Kentucky how many of you pictured some Arrested Development country-bumpkin type shit? You weren’t alone. So imagine how surprised I was when I threw this cd in the player and heard some of the hardest beats and dopest lyrics of this year coming out of my speakers…
‘Anti Abstract Intro’ serves as a general introduction to the Code Red way of thinking. A wry smile came to this older head’s face when I heard lead rapper Element One Wise spit “Old school to you is G Rap’s Road To The Riches, Old school to me is rapping Kurtis Blow at Christmas.” A man after my own heart. What makes things better is that these words are dropped over a real nice beat by Watz.
On the remix of ‘Diggin’ For What’, Wise flips the script, attacking various hiphop targets and dropping knowledge on walking the line between staying underground and going commercial. From the “pen and pixel” artists to the underground heads, he sums up in a few lines how a lot of up and coming artists must feel about
“the ones who be diggin’ for the important remix, and white label exclusive versions
the ones who show up to the underground parties,
but then turn the back on the same artist when they blow up
…y’all be diggin in the crates, but don’t be diggin in the pockets
so a lot of hot rappers are still living in the projects.”
‘4 MC’s murdered’ is driven by a Mos Def sample over another Watz beat. Watz (a pretty competent lyricist as well as a cool producer) and Wise trade verses on life as an upcoming artist in a hiphop community that sadly sometimes seems intent on destroying itself over some petty bullshit. Too many rappers are falling – heads need to remember how we felt when Biggie, Pac, Big L etc died, and recognise that we don’t need to lose any more talent.
The rest of the EP is solid throughout, and if you can manage to track this down its well worth picking up. I’m looking forward to an album from these guys as they obviously have talent. (They also have the illest collection of punchlines I’ve heard for quite a while – “you ’bout to fall off like a jacket with the shoulders missing”, and my new signature “if skills was pussy, half you rappers would be celibate”, are just a couple of the lines that had me laughing hard.) Pick this up.