Monday, November 8, 2010

Hard 2 Obtain

When people refer to the "golden age" of hip-hop, it's hard to stamp an exact definition of it.  Some will associate the beginning of the "golden age" with the development of Run-DMC in 1986, while others can argue that the movement really started to gain momentum with the release of The Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest in 1991.  Some say it ended at the start of the new millennium, while others disagree and say it was sooner.  Either way, I think it's safe to take the middle ground and state that the years between 1992-1996 saw some pretty damn good hip-hop albums, all of which probably fall within the "golden age" era.  1994 was a particularly good year for the east coast hip-hop lovers, where we see some amazing releases from some of the greats; Nas, Notorious B.I.G., Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Gang Starr, Beastie Boys, Redman, Method Man, Organized Konfusion, Jeru the Damaja, O.C., Digable Planets, etc.  Point being...there was a lot.  So much so in fact, that so many hip-hop groups go under the radar.  Many of these guys who went unnoticed tended to release an album and quit, perhaps seeing the immense successes of Nas and B.I.G. and going "well....shit."

The trio Hard 2 Obtain (H2O) was one of those groups that had a one-and-done type album called Ism & Blues.  Unfortunately, they never got the credit they deserved and were overshadowed by much of the other stuff going on.  Ism & Blues has a lot of the ingredients that make up east coast hip-hop in 1994; a fair share of jazz samples, focus on lyrical finesse, and organic percussion.  It's too bad H2O didn't take off, cause their creativity is pretty evident, and it would've been real cool to see what they could've accomplished in future ventures.  For now, though, they'll just have to remain deep in the annals of east coast lore.  Check out "Heels Without Souls" and "L.I. Groove" from Ism & Blues below.

Pick 'em up here.

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