Artist: Strange Fruit ProjectTitle: The HealingRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana
Seeing a group name like the Strange Fruit Project grace a Hip-Hop site, one won't be surprised also to see a word like "alternative" or "conscious" next to it. Depending on the boldness of the pen, you might even see the phrase "real Hip-Hop" scattered into the equation. If we were to do the unthinkable and judge an album by its title, then the clues in Strange Fruit Project's release, The Healing (Spilt Milk/OM), are not misleading at all. This album is not a case of a group of brothers yearning for a record deal only to regurgitate the frail rhymes of those before them. Nope, there is something smart about their sound. It screams substance.
Strange Fruit Project consists of three emcees from Waco, Texas (home of radical Christian cult leader, David Koresh, but that's neither here nor there). Right off the jump, the opening track of their album hits like a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Backed by S1 (Symbolic One) on the boards, the flow is so complex, it seems effortless. Myone rhymes, "Top of the pilot/I feel like the game has been acting a little bit childish/Ritalin is what a child gets with ADD/Add up your scores on the ACT/And act like y'all niggas ready for me."
Strange Fruit Project aint some broom microphone group roaming the underground with no clout. They got guest appearances by from icons like Erykah Badu ("Get Live"), and their producer S1 is well connected in the Okayplayer circuit. Myth and Myone are the type of emcees who have many pretty pictures in their mind, and the lightness of thought to execute them into memorable songs. The group, with its soulful interpretation of rap music, will garner comparisons to that group with the short statured name.
Speaking of LB, the mountaineers of the underground stop by for a beautiful day in the neighborhood on "Rise". As a matter of fact, SFP tends to step their game in the presence of stars as the stronger tracks on the album are the ones like the Illmind produced "Get Live" and the aforementioned track.
This review is not a plea for the conscious Hip-Hop revolution. Conscious Hip-Hop is already very much alive at the open mics, the spring concerts in the park, and in the Hip-Hop history books. The truth is that SFP is not far from their Houston neighbors Slim Thug, Mike Jones, and Paul Wall who dominate today's pop charts. The same poverty that makes you wanna put on a platinum chain to look rich is the same poverty that makes you want to write a conscious rhyme about it. Besides, you'll hear a Cash Money rapper talk about how FEMA didn't help save their city during Katrina, and you'll see big booty girls at a Common or Mos Def concert. The Healing is a hot album and if even only one thousand people buy it, one thousand people will definitely listen and reap its fruits.