In the earliest days of hip-hop, excess was never as integral to making an impressive statement as elements like a defined texture, evocative tones, formidable rhythm and rhymes were, and for Shaheed and DJ Supreme, these same rules apply to their new single “Appreciate Life” and its accompanying music video, both of which feature Chali 2na in a particularly memorable guest appearance. Though I’d stop well short of calling this a direct response to the streamlined approach a lot of mainstream rappers are taking this season, there’s definitely something exceptionally rebellious about what this all-new release has to say.
Sonically speaking, there’s a lot of wallop to this track that feels a little ironic considering how barebones the actual construction of the verses is. There isn’t a lot of pomp or synthetic filler between the bassline and the vocals, and though the percussion is elemental to the hook, it’s clearly not born of some tinny, oversampled recording that has seen more than a couple of single mixes and remixes in its time. This feels wholly original, despite the fact that its framework is drawn directly from an era known for its directness, and more importantly, it’s lack of commerciality.
Creatively complex and yet stylistically simple in the heart and soul of its design, it’s not difficult for the serious hip-hop lover to immediately appreciate what Shaheed and DJ Supreme have put together for listeners in this most recent studio offering. The video for “Appreciate Life” lends incredible authenticity to its players without the need for props and nonsensical plot twists unrelated to the lyrical narrative, and in this day and age, that’s really something to marvel at. Chali 2na pulls his weight as well, and all in all, I think every player here deserves to be lauded for the effort afforded to this piece.
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