The Beat Bop Scholar is a living testament of not only the power of Hip Hop, but also a reminder that there some younger Hip Hop fans who truly appreciate where this Culture came from. I witnessed a similar incident recently when The GZA performed "Liquid Swords" in Minneapolis. At some point, the GZA put the microphone to the mouth of a lady in the audience and she quite flawless finished out one of his verses for him. He later stopped the show to address the issue and it was learned that she was only like 2 years old when "Liquid Swords" came out, but here she was, in the front row and probably better equipped to recite all the lyrics to his album than anyone in that crowd, myself included. Point being, people in my generation need to spend less time complaining about what the mass of young-uns don't know and spend more time praising those chosen few who know so much that it's mind-blowing!
Case in point, if Beat Bop Scholar's Facebook is correct, then he is 19 years old. His album, "Authentic Minded", is mostly instrumental, but the three featured vocalists are Sadat X, Craig G, and Louieville Sluggah of OGC/Boot Camp Click. Let's do the math. When Sadat X was his most popular with Brand Nubian, he hadn't even been born yet. By the time of Sadat's first solo album, "Wild Cowboys", he was just three years old. Craig G dropped his first single in '85 and then furthered his legacy with his contributions to the mighty Juice Crew in the late 80s, all before the Beat Bop Scholar was born. Even Craig G's most popular solo work was back to back albums in '89 and '91. The Craig G resurgence of sorts via his '94 battle with Supernatural took place a few months prior to Beat Bop Scholar's first birthday. O.G.C's debut album, "Da Storm" = 1996...comparative age = 3. I think you get the point...
Beat Bop Scholar is originally Belgium, but is currently residing in LA, which is a great place to further your education of Hip Hop history. LA has its own rich history, but also many East Coast artists from the early eras have also made their home there or at least make regular appearance out West. I first met Beat Bop Scholar when I was in LA earlier this year doing some research. He actually came up to me because he recognized me from my 90s radio show in Chicago, Time Travel, as well as Scribble Jam and a few other things. I thought that was rather impressive. Here's a guy who was living all the way across the world and was well versed in what I was doing*. I mean it was much easier to rationalize him being a fan of Boot Camp Click, Juice Crew, Percee P, etc... Those were internationally known names in Hip Hop circles and I know Europe has some of the foremost knowledgable students of Hip Hop history. But, when he started tossing out quotes from 90s Underground groups such as All Natural and Rhymefest who had mentioned me in their rhymes on limited edition 12" singles, then I was beyond humbled. As we continued to talk, it was undoubtedly clear that he had a passion and true understanding of Hip Hop. When he told me he was a producer, I was intrigued to hear some of his music.
"Authentic Minded" is a nice collection of work that speaks volumes of his disciplined study and love of this music. The beats definitely have a strong 90s and early 00s influence, but it sounds "authentic", as the title suggests, and not contrived. Quite honestly, some of these could have been packaged and labeled "found lost beat tape from (insert a 90s producer's name)" and would probably convince some people. Although, the programming is similar through out, Beat Bop Scholar makes sure to cover different moods and vibes. Many of the tracks immediately made me think about possible remixes or some other 90s artists would fit perfectly. For example, "Cold Certified" instantly made me think of Digable Planets for some reason, even though it is not a typical Digable beat. I can just hear Butterfly and Ladybug specifically doing something nice and coolout vibe-ish to this. "Subway Trains" sounds like something I'd hear on a late 90s Chicago indie record. "Lady Love" is definitely one of the stand outs and it exists strongly as an instrumental, but I could imagine a lot of MCs doing something great with this as well.
Of the vocal tracks, my favorite is the Craig G. That's not surprising, I've been a huge Craig G fan since '85 and I have remained impressed with his ability to stay relavent and skillful for all these years and it's no different here. On "Veteran Tactics" Beat Bop Scholar comes with some moody pianos and let's Craig G do his thing. Craig G touches on some of his history in the verses and also takes so time to give proper due to the producer behind the track, "Craig G (&) the Beat Bop Scholar sure to make you holler/Classic like an Impala, I gotta/show you what I'm working with, this track here's a perfect fit/Black, I'll fry your circus s**t, pack it up quick, close the curtain kid/Let a professional handle the task, verses dismantle your ass/And the Beat Bop Scholar got pianos on stash..." Nuff niceness. The album closes with a Remix version of the track, the original is my preferred mix, but this one is solid as well.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the Beat Bop Scholar develops his skills as he eases into his 20s. He's just getting started and already off to a poignant start. Connect with him on his Facebook page HERE!
Written By Kevin Beacham, A fan of those who are true fans of Hip Hop Culture