And today in Reminders of the Considerable Powers of the Hieroglyphics Crew, we bring you this video for "Hip-Hop, My Friend," from Oakland MC Pep Love. It's the first single off Rigmarole, his second solo album and the first in 11 years (since Ascension), and both the song and the video are worth pausing to enjoy.
Building on a sweetly melancholic sample from Bobby "Blue" Bland's "I Wouldn't Treat a Dog the Way You Treated Me," Pep Love renews his dedication to hip-hop and bemoans what he sees as the negative influence of the media, major labels, and suit-wearing cigar smokers on its original values. Of course there's a bit of myth-making going on here, too; any song that begins with the line "I'm a real true artist/ Put all of my heart in this" bears the risk of sounding both corny and arrogant, sorta like those hypemongers and anonymous trolls wagging online fingers about "real hip-hop." But here we'd say Pep Love stays on the good side, coming off more like a concerned wise man than a cranky elder. And anyway, his flow is so impeccable -- effortlessly smooth and rhythmic in that way we've come to expect from Hiero members -- that he leaves no room for shots even if you disagree with his point of view.
This video, directed by Jordan Ching and Jerome Palencia, is another piece of finery: A coupling of a few very long shots of Pep moving through scenes in a building that illustrate the lyrics. It ends outside, on a sunny Oakland street amid scraper bikes, a DJ, and break dancers, once more cementing the point that all of this may not be new, may not be what's "cool" or popular right now in rap, whatever -- but oh, oh boy, can it still be so smart and real and satisfying.
Rigmarole is out March 6 on Hieroglyphics Imperium.