Blue Scholars

Bayani (Rawkus)

August 1, 2007

Seattle hip-hop hasn't been on the national radar since Sir-Mix-A-Lot's posse vanished. Bringing the Northwest back are the Blue Scholars, comprised of Filipino emcee Geologic and Persian producer Sabzi, with their sophomore full-length Bayani on the revamped Rawkus Records (former home of Blackstar and Company Flow). Taking listeners captive through sharp production and clear, concise lyricism, the duo is determined to put their region back on the map. Geologic says it best over Sabzi's banging production on "North by Northwest": "We're broke but not broken, cold but not frozen, lost but not forgotten, we kickin' doors open." Geologic's conscious and politically-charged lyrics are complimented by Sabzi's soulful, head-nodding, hornheavy compositions. Bayani combines art and activism with songs like the anti-war anthem Back Home and the retelling of the 1999 WTO protest on "50K Deep." Void of materialism and misogyny, this is feel-good music by the people, for the people. -Zoneil Maharaj

Magazine Section: