FortWayne-based hip-hop duo Andromeda are no joke, and by that I mean that theyaren't fake, afraid or passive. They're real, and in a genre with roots inconflict and revolution,
being real is the best thing you can be. On Blue Collar Music, their second official studio album and long-awaitedfollow-up to their debut, TheNeed, Andromeda say exactly what theywant to say, knowing all along that it might leave a lot of listeners feelinguneasy – offering a rare breath of uncompromised creativity and vision.With lyrics rooted in "pro-black" themes (their words), DJ Polarisand Brainstorm continue chewing up broken modern American society, this timewith more guts, complex social theories and, frankly, better beats than ever.
Blue Collar Music
isn't exactly a revolution, but it's certainly thekind of record that plants the needed seeds.
Onthe potent "The Original," Andromeda sample one of Chuck D's many memorablelines, "Take a piece of America back / Indiana trees hangin' us instead ofleaves,"
to accent the album's theme of deep-rooted oppression known as"blue collarism," or, as Andromeda say, "modern dayslavery." Over soulful, organically produced beats, Brainstorm leads theway vocally with some of his best performances
yet and easily his mostacademic, powerful lyrics to date. DJ Polaris (armed with his signature deep,authorative voice), too, is very active on the mic this time around, offering asharp contrast to Brainstorm's impassioned vocals with his stern, stoic
rhymes.The balance of their voices and styles is just one of the many pleasantadvances to their sound.
Whileracial and political themes do dominate the record, you can't help but feelanother theme tucked below the surface: unity. And by unity, I mean roots. Andby roots, I mean the
rare bond that is Brainstorm and Polaris, two of FortWayne's most respected and active advocates for hip-hop music and culture. Onlytwo individuals with a committed artistic bond could churn up an album ascoherent and accomplished as Blue Collar Music
.Through their love of rootsy, "old-school" hip-hop, DJ Polaris andBrainstorm have released an album that is a nod to better sounding times, madeperfect for hip-hop fans who thought Brother Ali and Dead Prez were the onlypolitically minded
hip-hop artists who still mattered.
Thelyrical content, literally, is far too expansive and researched to do justiceto in 700 words or less, but looking over the titles – "RentMoney," "Overtime,"
"The Great Depression,""Motivation" and "A Slave's Portion," to name a few –should give you the gist of their modus operandi. And the beats, well, let'sjust say that "Focal Point" is one of the best "modernroots"
beats you'll ever hear not made by Blueprint ... and the restaren't too far behind. They're dusty, thick, warm and accessible, but withoutsounding too much like anyone else right now – which is a triumph in itsown right.
Blue Collar Music
is an organic, timeless hip-hop record with dogmatic,fully realized, everyday themes that prove to be relevant yesterday, today andtomorrow. Simply, BlueCollar Music
is the best workAndromeda have ever done, and, as far as lyrical sophistication goes, Andromedahave raised the bar for their peers. Whether you're white or black, old oryoung, this album works as a document of a time and a place and a society–not to mention as a study of the relationship between racism andclassism in the U.S. today. Come Whammy season, it'll be a crime (thoughunfortunately fitting) if Andromeda's masterwork isn't a serious contender for"Best Album." File this one under "B" for bold, brave andbrilliant. Formore info on Andromeda (or to buy one of their records), head over to www.andromedasound.com.