Emcees come from various backgrounds. Some pushed drugs, some gangbanged, others were college dropouts, but how often do you hear about an emcee with an Ivy League background? Not very often at all. Emcee Naledge and producer Double O both met while attending the confines of the University of Pennsylvania and after hitting the mixtape scene hard and getting cosigns from some of the best in the biz (i.e. Just Blaze). They were the first new act signed to the rejuvenated Rawkus records, so now it’s time for the Ivy Leaguers to ante up and put that pedigree to the test with their debut album School Was My Hustle.
What’s interesting about Kidz is that they come off as “cool” Ivy Leaguers and don’t contain any ”pocket protector”-like nerd qualities that would tarnish garnering any street credibility. But that Ivy League pedigree does make its presence felt throughout the album. Naledge and Double O begin their march with “Ritalin” as the drumline snares surround Naledge as he puts his well thought lyrics to work. As an emcee, Naledge rhymes like he is a cut above the rest. Whether he’s plowing through emcees on the aforementioned “Ritalin”, weaving tales of lust worthy females on “Ms. Juanita”, or lamenting about kids who just squander their lives away on “Dumb Ass Tales”, Naledge proves that he has much more to offer than your average emcee.
Double O does a solid job of providing sufficient backdrops for Naledge to put his words to work on. Easily the highlight of the album is “Wheelz Fall Off (06′ Til)” as Double O reworks the sample that made Souls Of Mischief’s “93 Til Infinity” a classic record. Double O is able to stay consistent for the most part, only faltering in a couple of places–”Don’t Stop” uses the same sample Just Blaze provided for Jay-Z’s “Show Me What You Got” minus the ridiculous drums, while ”Move On Up” doesn’t pack the energy the rest of the album does. Nonetheless, Double O gives just enough to make Naledge’s “Revolutionary Raps” enjoyable without coming off as preachy.
School Was My Hustle is a solid debut from Kidz In The Hall and also worthy of the Rawkus imprint. Sure they may go over the heads of the dope boy fans but there is a dire need for an artist to show that even educated kids can rap too. Kidz demonstrate how it is to be done and keep us anticipating their next project.
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