It’s been a while since I’ve heard from Birmingham, Alabama-based label Communicating Vessels. Founded by Jeffrey Cain, a former member of the sadly unheralded Remy Zero, the label quickly developed a reputation for putting out some of the Deep South’s — hell, some of the entire country’s — most interesting and diverse music, including Green Seed; Isidore, the collaboration between Cain and the Church’s Steve Kilbey; the posthumous release of former Remy Zero member Gregory Scott Slay’s solo album; and more.
So when I got a press email about a new Communicating Vessels release, I was intrigued. Birmingham, AL-based Shaheed and DJ Supreme have developed a reputation over their 13 years in the game, 6 in which they’ve collaborated exclusively together for being unlike the prototypical Dirty South hip hop we’ve become accustomed to; in fact, their sound much like Jurassic 5 and others brings hip hop back to both the golden age of hip hop and to the earliest days of boom bap hip hop — we’re talking about the essentials of emcee spitting dope rhymes over dope beats.
This year will mark the release of the duo’s third and long-awaited full-length effort, Knowledge, Rhymes, and Understanding which will drop on August 20th. ”Champions of Truth,” the first single off the album is the sort of hip hop that sadly doesn’t get as much radio play as it should through your local conglomerate, terrestrial hip hop station. After all, real hip hop is pretty simple — emcee spitting dope rhymes over even doper beats, and it does so with a sly, witty sense of humor, too.
Real hip hop is out there and very much alive, but you gotta make an effort to find it in a way that wasn’t the case back in 1988.