Genre: Socially Conscious Hip-Hop
To someone without much knowledge about hip-hop, there’s two kinds of it. There’s hip-hop that boasts money, sex, and drugs, and then there’s hip-hop that matters. Devine Carama’s No Child Left Behind falls gracefully into the latter category – seeking to remove itself from a genre that indulges itself in material possessions, and to establish itself as one that seeks social change and cultural awareness. Devine himeslf says that NCLB is “an open letter to an 8th grade middle school class” and “inner city teens struggling to navigate their way through this world with limited guidance, opportunities, and foggy mirrors as best.” Aside from rhymes that preach the under-heard gospel of social change, the album is sonically different from a lot of hip-hop I’ve heard. Much like Fidel Hasflow’s LoFidel, which celebrated samples and old-school hip-hop production, Devine Carama employs sounds that sound fresh because of their retrospective flavor – some tracks from LoFidel can be heard over the course of the album, and it’s no coincidence that these are also some of the best sounding. All this said, the whole album sounds excellent and fresh – Devine has come up with some meaningfully sharp rhymes and knows how to lay them down, and his producers have made some creative and catchy tracks for him to plant them on. At a time in my life that I’ve been asking myself why the world hasn’t moved past racial struggles, Devine Carama takes it a step further and provides some answers.
Tracks I Liked? No Child Left Behind!!, ’13 Til Infinity!!!, Stars!!!, Willie Lynch Me!, Dead Man Walking!!, Light Switch Flow!!, A Deadbeat’s Karma!, We Are (Kings and Queens)!!!, Voices From the Grave!!
Ben Southworth – July 16th, 2013 – Lexington, Kentucky