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Inner City Griots
     

Inner City Griots

by Freestyle Fellowship
 
Straight outta South Central, but far from what you expect, is an apt description for the Freestyle Fellowship, a quartet of rappers who released this often overlooked classic in 1993. The group, Aceyalone, Mikah Nine, Mtulazjl PeAce and Self Jupiter, came together at The Good Life Café, a health food store that sponsored rap events. The quartet distinguished

Overview

Straight outta South Central, but far from what you expect, is an apt description for the Freestyle Fellowship, a quartet of rappers who released this often overlooked classic in 1993. The group, Aceyalone, Mikah Nine, Mtulazjl PeAce and Self Jupiter, came together at The Good Life Café, a health food store that sponsored rap events. The quartet distinguished themselves both with superior rhymes and innovative delivery. They often altered their enunciation and lightly scatted their words. In presentation they were neither jesters nor hippies, just four around the way guys with a different approach than their peers. Aceyalone and Mikah Nine were later signed to solo deals, and Kedar Massenburg, the Executive Producer of this recording went on to produce D'Angelo and Erykah Badu.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Nathan Bush
Freestyle Fellowship emerged on the L.A. rap scene during the early '90s. Given the chance to hone its skills at a health-food store's open-mic nights, the group quickly earned the attention and respect of the city's hip-hop underground. Their second album, 1993's Inner City Griots, is the only completely collaborative album released during the group's career. Surprisingly, each MC (Mikah Nine, Jupiter, Peace, and Aceyalone) seems fully matured at this early stage. On Inner City Griots, the production is improved to match the group's vibrant, dexterous wordplay. Swapping rhymes with agility and grace, the Fellowship is a rap tag team par excellence. At times, the lyrics are so dense and the delivery so quick that the words are practically indecipherable. Yet the rappers are just as adept at slowing down the pace without losing a bit of their lyrical energy or creativity. Unrestricted by tired rap themes, the Fellowship strikes at a range of subjects. The abrasive opening one-two of "Blood" and "Bullies of the Block" might throw listeners off guard but as "Everything's Everything" opens, they provide assurances that "It's all right y'all." The guns are dropped and microphones prevail. Inner City Griots (a griot is an African storyteller) takes on Aceyalone's twisted nursery rhyme "Cornbread," the positive vibes of "Inner City Boundaries," the locker-room machismo of "Shammy's" (an inevitable ode to the ladies), and "Way Cool," a tale of serial killing horror. On "Park Bench People," the Freestyle Fellowship even asks whether rap music is big enough to take in a sung rumination on homelessness. With live instrumentation provided by the Underground Railroad (whose members appear throughout the album), the song stretches into a section reminiscent of '70s Stevie Wonder. Like all great groups that preceded it, the Fellowship was simply testing the limits of hip-hop and its own capabilities on this multifaceted collection.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/27/1993
Label:
Fontana Island
UPC:
0016244405020
catalogNumber:
444050
Rank:
56275

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Freestyle Fellowship   Primary Artist
Daddy-O   Vocals,Track Performer
Doddy-O   Vocals
Robert Harris   Bass,Percussion,Drums,Timpani
DJ Kiilu   Turntables
Don Littleton   Percussion
Marvin McDaniel   Acoustic Guitar
Rodney Millon   Guitar
Onaje Murray   Vibes
Kevin O'Neal   Bass,Upright Bass
Tom Ralls   Trombone
Christy Smith   Bass,Upright Bass
Alfred Threats   Bass
Randall Willis   Flute,Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
JMD   Bass,Percussion,Drums,Timpani
Jon Williams   Trumpet
Spoon   Rap

Technical Credits

Freestyle Fellowship   Producer
Kim Buie   Executive Producer
Daddy-O   Producer,Engineer
Edman   Arranger,Producer
Matt Hyde   Engineer
Kedar Massenburg   Executive Producer
Kevin O'Neal   Arranger
JMD   Arranger
Mikah 9   Contributor
Rich Herrera   Engineer
Self-Jupiter   Contributor

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