RATING: 9/10 CHET BAKERS
I've been a fan of Adair Lion's for awhile now. I enjoy his positive music that he puts out, as well as his socially conscious attitudes that he displays in his music. He's had quite a few tracks over the years that have demonstrated his embracing of social and political issues, whether it's tackling the issue of Immigration and the Dream Act with "Am I Dreaming?" or letting young LGBT kids know that "Gay is Okay" with his viral hit video for the song "Ben".
Those are two things that are important to me when it comes to finding artists that I like. I don't like ignorant shit. I don't listen to artists who rap about "Popping Mollys" or getting "Turnt Up". That doesn't interest me because, in my opinion, it's not saying anything. Not saying anything positive, anyway.
Adair released his project yesterday after it had been delayed for awhile (Michael & Me was originally slated to come out late 2012), and it proved to be worth the wait. When I asked him about the album recently, he said that he had envisioned this project as an "Album full of Singles", which I think is appropriate. Interludes aside, pretty much every track on here I could see being a radio single, as opposed to most albums coming out with a small handful of "radio tracks" and then the others that tend to be average or mediocre.
"Michael & Me", a tribute of sorts to the late great Michael Jackson, features several catchy tracks on here, some inspirational ("Ben"), others that get your head nodding quick ("Just Another Part of Me"), and one especially that is fairly aggressive and pointed in it's criticism of this country's discrimination and racism against Latinos. That track, which happens to be my favorite track on the album, is "Us" which uses some vocals from Michael Jackson's controversial "They Don't Really Care About Us" in an excellent fashion.
The lyrics are sharp and powerful, and really leaves no doubt as to what Adair's thoughts on the subject is. Lyrics like the ones below illustrate this point perfectly:
MORE AFTER THE BREAK:
Relax Gringo, yeah I'm here legally
And it's my right to protest shit peacefully
I speak English & Spanish, two White languages
Stripped of my Native Tongues but I survived the damages
They lied about our history, turned it Disney
And tried to sell the DVD to me for $19.50
Too many Sheep, not enough Rebels
Too many Brakes, not enough Gas Pedals
Too many Yes Men, Not enough Defiance
Too many Pussies, not enough Pussy Riots
That's that fire that I like. Not enough artists are using their platform to speak on real issues out there. They're happy to just pump out generic garbage that poisons the youth, rather than ones that uplift and encourage protest and action. Too many are into self preservation, like Michael Jordan once said about why he didn't speak out and use his powerful platform. "Republicans buy shoes too." was his answer.
Too many people posses his cowardice when it comes to speaking out on issues that face their communities, both good and bad. I mean he doesn't HAVE to speak out, but when he doesn't, and he gives the reason that he's worried about his money, then...that's kind of pathetic, in my opinion.
Several tracks on here I had heard before, as they were released as singles. "Ben", "Just Another Part of Me" and "BAMF" were all previously released singles and got their own videos as well (shot and edited by Adair's Above The Notes Entertainment as well as Cody Perez Photography), but the rest of the album was brand new to me, so I was very excited to hear it.
One of the only issues I had, really, was just a comical one, for me anyway, and that was on ironically my favorite track on the album, "US" The very first line nearly turned me off of the song, after he said "Too many mainstreamers, not enough hipsters". Now, Adair. Man, listen. lol. I'm joking, but I'd like to think he was referring more to indie artists, rather than the generic sometimes annoying Hipster crowds. There is a difference, I think. I Do think there's too many artists running to major labels when they don't need to. Why sacrifice your vision and your autonomy by taking that poisonous money from the corporations?
Other than that brief misstep (lol), this is a solid damn release, I think. It's been a long time coming, but man it's great now that it's here.
Adair has that something special. There may be rappers out there who you may view as being better or whatever. I've never been into the "ranking rappers" thing, because it's all subjective, and there's so many categories and aspects to hip hop that it's impossible to truly compare two artists because they all have their strengths and weaknesses.
However I don't think you can question his authenticity, his being true to himself. He's unabashedly outspoken on issues that he feels are important, and that comes out in his music. It's music that while being strong and powerful, is also positive and you can listen to it in mixed company and not be embarrassed by the streams of profanity or sexually graphic lyrics that unfortunately pervade much of hip hop.
I also like the fact that he is a true student and follower of Hip Hop. He's not a poser. He's not someone who's co-opting the art form and just trying to make money off of it. We've all seen artists come and go in this Hip Hop game who didn't really love Hip Hop, they were just interested in making as much money from it as possible. They are easy to spot.
Adair is different. Anyone that's seen any of his videos will know that with the exception of his newest one, every video I've seen has featured all four elements of Hip Hop which are Emceeing, Graffiti, DJ'ing and Breakdancing. Every one of his videos feature those four things, which I thought was a very cool thing. It shows the respect he has, and I think it adds to his credibility and his image.
I think it's also cool how he also puts his peoples in his videos. He's loyal on top of all the other things, which is good. Check his videos you'll see a handful of people show up in all of them. It's good to see someone that hasn't forgotten where he came from and those who has been there for him.
I look forward to hearing more from Adair Lion in the future, and it appears that as long as he wants it, he should have a long and illustrious career in this Hip Hop game.
Below you can stream or download his newest release "Michael & Me". Below that widget, you can check out his official website, follow him on twitter or check out his other music videos on his Youtube channel. And as a bonus, below all that, is the newest Adair Lion video for his brand new single "Black or White".