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by Max Herman
13 September, 2004@12:00 am
0 comments

Compilation; No Rating Given

       With one of the most controversial Presidents in American history looking to get re-elected, the politically-fueled hip-hop/ electronic compilation, Who’s America?, serves as a fitting soundtrack to our country’s heated political climate. Thankfully not one of the artists on this compilation is flat out telling you who to vote for. It’s the eye-opening lyrics of MCs like Mr. Lif, though, that give us the perspective sorely missing from your nightly newscast. And with the electronic tracks here, which make up half of this compilation, we hear a variety of musical reactions to our war-stricken times.       

     It’s been a while since the U.N. first went into Iraq searching for “weapons of mass destruction,” but on “Memorial Day” the Perceptionists (Akrobatik, Mr. Lif and DJ Fakts One) make sure the Bush administration and the public don’t forget that Hans Blix and company came out empty handed. The unambiguous chorus sums it up lovely:  “Where are the weapons of mass destruction?/ We’ve been looking for months and we ain’t found nothing/ Please Mr. President tell us something/ We knew from the beginning that your ass was bluffing.” In contrast, the tongue-in-cheek cut “I Work for the Government Now” by Central Services (El-P and Camu Tao) offers a more sarcastic approach as they mockingly express their desire to work for the government over one of El-P’s most quirky beats yet.

     While it’s hard to say what exactly inspired electronic numbers like “Filmer” by Christopher Lawrence, this somber keyboard-driven cut is perfect for reflecting in the midst of all the chaos. And the more upbeat, danceable numbers like Junior Sanchez’s  “Superincumbent” are suitable for just letting go of everything… if electronica is your thing.

     Hip-hop and electronic music undoubtedly share some of the same roots, so it makes sense why a hip-hop label (Definitive Jux) and an electronic one (System Recordings) made this collaboration. But in both circles of fans there are plenty of heads that aren’t too keen on melding the two movements. So, for all the hip-hop heads willing to go without hearing an MC every other number, you’ll find Who’s America? to be a worthy, politically-aware compilation.

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