Propaganda is one of the hip hop artists on the Humble Beast label. You may have seen his spoken word piece, G.O.S.P.E.L. You may have heard his earlier album, or even seen him perform live. But you probably haven’t heard his newest album yet. Excellent is dropping on September 25th, and I’ll be honest-some of you aren’t ready for it. It’s too different, too much—too hard. And I don’t mean hard like it will blow your hair back. I mean this album is hard in its content, confrontation, and cause. It’s an album that will stir you and challenge you. If you try to just kick back and easily enjoy it you just might find yourself unprepared to wrestle with Propaganda’s grave, yet gracious words.
You have to listen to Excellent like you’re supposed to listen to a person, not like one might mindlessly listen to your average pop album. You need to listen to this album to understand, not just enjoy. If you do the former, you’ll get the latter.
So, what does it sound like? I’m smiling while I try to think of the words to use… I’m listening to it for the sixth time as I write this. This is not just a different kind of hip hop album, it is elevated. It is excellent. The beats and music are the work of Beautiful Eulogy who handled all the production and delivered a completely original (and I mean that in every way, no sampling) urban, bluesy, acoustic, electronic sound. As I was saying above, the lyrics are strong, but strong lyrics with weak lyricism equals an impotent album. Thankfully Prop’ is genuinely gifted. His rap is powerful and persuasive, and his delivery is varied throughout every track. This album is never static, but it is consistent-consistently creative, fun, surprising, and passionate.
Excellent is proving to be one of the best things I’ve heard in a long time.
Like all of the Humble Beast releases you will be able to download the entire album for free on September 25th. But, if you can you should pre-order/purchase it through iTunes or Amazon.com ($9.99) to support the artist and label.
Go to Joe’s site to stream a song for free.
I listened to some of the pre-album release yesterday. For one of the songs in particular—you can listen for yourself to figure out which song it might be—I began constructing a counter-argument in my head for why Propaganda is wrong. I did the same thing when I saw him give a live performance of another song. The details of that are less important than the fact that this is an album that makes arguments. These arguments might be right or they might be wrong; they might be prophetic or might be overstatements. But they are arguments that make you think and make you uncomfortable and invite you to talk back. I don’t know about you, but I simply don’t have that experience when listening to other types of music.
So consider giving this a listen. You’ll find a brother who doesn’t want to quarrel, but does want to argue. And he might just win you over.