Patriarch: Son Of A Refugee

What do you get when you mix Bay Area hyphy, global politics, ‘90s West Coast bangin’ and a revolutionary emcee? You get Patriarch, the Hayward, CA native, who has been writing poetry since the age of 11 and has now unleashed his unabashed brand of Hip-Hop onto the music world. Through a somewhat long 21 tracks, the listener is exposed to Patriarch’s complex world of crunk, gangsta Hip-Hop and his quest to free Palestine from Israeli occupation. With these diverse influences, Son of a Refugee (Revolution N.O.W.), comes off as a tutorial to the casual rap listener. Please note that the casual rap listener likes to party and go to the club, not concern himself with what’s going on in the Middle East.Son of a Refugee is the first release from Pat’s independent N.O.W. label and tries to pack a ton styles into the record. Pat’s rugged and somewhat angry delivery comes off a lot like Tupac, an obvious influence on his style. “Live by the Sword” featuring Elijah Henry introduces a man struggling internally with riding against injustice and doing the right thing in a world that is wrong. After hearing “Ride Through the Hood” it becomes apparent that the beat selections are harder than concrete. The song also starts what will be a plethora of “Fuck Bush” shout outs. This is also around the time the listener will begin an education into the Arab American lifestyle that has charged Patriarch’s (and his P-Stine Ryders crew) rhymes. While Pat’s similarities to Tupac get too great at times, it does compliment tracks like “Just Don’t Give a Fuck” and his heart wrenching ode to his deceased grandmother on the brilliant “Never Me Alone”. Patriarch seems to shine best when he is collaborating with others. “Gangsta & Politiks” lives up to its title by having Patriarch and Brooklyn newcomer Gaza dropping politics—to great results¬—only to be topped by a rewind heavy verse by Kurupt. Kurupt’s verse is so tight that you’ll be begging for another solo album from the DPG alum by the end of the song. When coupled with SF heavyweight San Quinn, Patriarch holds his ground delivering direct messages by spitting, “Bush is a racist/Don’t let him fool you/In the name of democracy/He might just rule you/Fight back and he might just nuke you.” This is the kind of fare the listener will have to get accustomed to during the album. And believe that they will have to get accustomed, unless they are hip to dead prez or Immortal Technique. This record packs some great beats such as found on “Aywah”, the first ever Hip-Hop ode to Arabic women, and some lame clichéd ones (“Crunk Revolution”). The true problem comes in the contradiction of what Patriarch is trying to achieve. He tries to be a little bit of everything which distorts his main focus of feeding his political agenda. When you listen to a Public Enemy record, you know you are listening to a PE song. After hearing this album, you will not be sure what a Patriarch song is supposed to sound like.