Six 8

by Jason Hoffman 12:34

      Ethan Birch, hereafter referred to as Six 8, survived a number of major life crises with life-changing results. He has since been on a crusade to present motivational and educational messages to school children, as well as encouraging fathers to be involved in the lives of their children.

      Dubbing himself a “positive rapper,” he has created 12:34, a collection of hip-hop tunes in the crunk genre with lyrics aimed at grade-school kids. This fresh alternative stands toe-to-toe with hip-hop you’d hear on the radio, except for the missing expletives. While Six 8 handles most of the vocals and lyrics, Jason (J-Ray) Noel produced the beats as well as took on most of the engineering work, with Monastic Chambers picking up production credits for a few songs. In true family spirit Six 8’s kids, sister and friends join him on many of the tracks, providing an enjoyable familial feel.

      Six 8 tackles a myriad of social problems, presenting each against an appealing backdrop of well produced music and often couched in a very memorable chorus melody. “Pull Your Pants Up!” pits a low bass beat against an all-male chorus in an ode against the fad of wearing pants like a plumber, with lines such as “Your pants so low your underwear's showin’.” “Read All Summer” stresses the importance of reading 30 minutes a day during the summer, with heavier rhythm guitars and rich, polished female vocals singing an excellent chorus. A sly beat encourages the young pups from smoking in “Just Don’t Start.” In direct contrast to most hip-hop music, “Watch Your Mouth!” actually encourages respect to elders and refraining from bad language, while “Lincoln Rap” is a rousing, crowd-engaging song that teaches listeners about our bearded president. Other songs are more general in focus, such as “Get It Together,” which features a body-moving heavy bass beat that highlights the motivational lyrics of reaching your full potential; the pumped-up and energetic “Bounce,” which helps kids “bounce” back from adversity; and “Don’t Lie,” which zooms along on rich analog synth tones.

      There is definitely a need for kid-friendly, parent-approved hip-hop music, and Six 8 has hit the nail on the head. There’s not a single song on 12:34 that could be considered objectionable but a whole lot that are a big ball o’ fun. www.six8productions.com has all you need to find out about having Six 8 come to your school or how to obtain this excellent album for a paltry $7.

Copyright 2007 Ad Media Inc.