Our next stop on the tour of the Pacific Northwest is…Seattle….again. Here we take a look at Common Market, the other hip hop duo of DJ Sabzi (of label sharing Blue Scholars). In Common Market, Sabzi is paired up with MC RA Scion, who is slightly more aggressive than Geo in terms of his lyrics and political commentary. Scion rhymes with a reason, taking conscious hip hop to a whole different level than rhymers like KRS-One ever took it to.
Common Market’s latest LP Tobacco Road was pretty well received by the hip hop scene, but there are some real gems in some of their older, lesser financed albums [listen: “Connect Four” off their self titled album]. In his voice you might hear hints of Marshall Mathers (please don’t get angry at me for this people), but don’t let that fool you, RA Scion comes quick, or “spits fire” as the kids are saying. Don’t get overwhelmed: You really need to focus or take two listens to hear some of the genius behind the lyrics.
As far as Tobacco Road is concerned, Sabzi replaces some of his traditional horns and piano with more synths, but his trademark smooth organ and crisp drums are definitely still in place. Though this album is slightly more produced than their previous efforts, it’s definitely an excellent intro to their music and a pivotal pit stop on your tour of the Pacific Northwest.
All in all Tobacco Road is very solid, there are no weak tracks. And though the duo probably could have done a little more with the concept (the title is a very loaded phrase for people familiar with its origins) beyond using it as a metaphor to umbrella over the usual indie-hip hop fare – this is another small complaint. Musically, this album is as good as anything that’s come out in quite a while. And Common Market deserves to be more than “the best hip hop group you’ve never heard of;” hopefully they’ll get a chance to showcase their considerable talents to a wider audience this year – Culture Bully