BBU uses the word “cracker”… a lot. (They also manage to slip in a “honky” toward the end of the tape). Although some of their content may catch the average hip-hop listener by surprise, the group—that is either known as “Bin Laden Blowing Up” or “Black, Brown and Ugly” depending on the day—offers educated and thought-out views that come across in an authoritative way without sounding dictatorial. The job of a writer is not to profess his or her views as gospel, but to express a well-rounded opinion, and this is something BBU does throughout bell hooks. Agree or disagree, one can’t argue the validity of these Chi-town natives who might “hate the ‘Go’ for what it is but know that bastard made” them.
While bell hooks is a far cry from the anthemic “Chi Don’t Dance” track BBU released a couple of years ago, it still manages to entice “juking” while discussing the young African-American plight. The collective of Illekt, Epic and Jasson Perez come off as a young, impressionable and modern version of Public Enemy, only with a little less bass in their voices and a little more emphasis on blending lyrics and beats.
The mixtape kicks off with a spoken-word intro that leads into an aggressive statement in “Outlaw Culture.” A self-proclaimed soundtrack to Malcom’s “By Any Means,” it searches for answers while hoping for change. The underlying theme seems to focus on the stereotypical views of African-Americans but, in reality, it is for everyone who grew up not fitting in.
“Jumpers” is a cry for everyone to get on the same page in the short time they are here on earth. The Tony Baines-produced track lets the collective wax philosophical on reverse racism and Repbulicans. “Kurt De La Rocha” intertwines a sample of Nirvana’s “Polly” with a bass-heavy bounce track setting the stage for a rebellious chant where BBU continues to voice its displeasure with the status quo.
The somewhat star-studded collaboration with the Hood Internet and Das Racist called “Please, No Pictures” proves to be the album’s stand-out. Not only do the guests serve as a nice change of pace from BBU’s own status quo (with an Arrested Development reference thrown in for good measure), the synth- and clap-heavy beat allow the guys to let their guard down a bit, and a throw in a little wit to help welcome their Brooklyn comrades.
Maybe a less militant Dead Prez, maybe a more militant collection of Commons, the consciousness of bell hooks is well-spoken and will hopefully be heard by the audience it’s addressing.
BBU – bell hooks tracklist:
- “Wake Up Call by Malcolm London”
- “Outlaw Culture”
- “The Hood” (featuring GLC) – Listen/download on Pop ‘stache
- “Beau Sia”
- “Mr. Goodbar (Interlude)”
- “Kurt De La Rocha”
- “Michael Scott (Skit)”
- “There’s Something About Mary”
- “BBU PSA by Epic”
- “26th & Cali”
- “Spaghetti” (featuring Mic Terror)
- “The Wrong Song”
- “Tommy Bunz”
- “Please, No Pictures” (featuring Das Racist)
- “Mr. Good Bar (Outro)”