Forgive me Father Hip-Hop, for I have sinned. I’ve spoken poorly of hip-hop and, frankly, I’ve lost all faith in it. The bling-bling shout-outs of the mainstream and elitist attitudes of the underground have grown tired and are constantly making caricatures of themselves. Is there hope, Father? Is there hope that a new breed of hip-hop heads can break through the monotonous tedium that has plagued what was once innovative? Please show me a sign. Anything, for I fear I will sin again.
Could it be found in ID and Sleeper and their debut, Displacement? Is this your hip-hop savior, Father? I wouldn’t expect hip-hop’s new hope to come from Lawrence, Kansas, but I must find salvation, even if there is but a chance. They seem to be a potentially prosperous duo, ID with his introspection and untypical rhyming style. This Sleeper, the one who makes the lo-fi, grimy and dark beats, he’s clearly something disparate from the mainstream. Together their team sounds as if it could help break us out of this empty creative boredom, a veritable super team sent from above to cure hip-hop of its ailments.
Yet, Father, when I spin their disc, I’m confounded. Their beats seem somewhat fresh, but I know I’ve heard this before. Could this be reminiscent of Definitive Jux? Yes, yes, that’s it. It sounds as if they’re falling into the same bottomless pit as the other heads, copying their mentors. I could easily mistake this for El-P or Atmosphere on any lonely Sunday. The beat on “Balance” makes me want to nod my head, but when I hear ID step in with “I could be a million people on this beat, but why not breathe and just be me?” I get lost in my apprehension again.
I may be a Doubting Thomas, Father, and please forgive me for my disbelief, but I need something more solid. I can appreciate what ID and Sleeper are doing for hip-hop, but it’s not strong enough to bring my faith back. It has nothing to do with the fact that they’re not from the streets, for what they preach is far from the “waving of gats” or the “rolling on twenty-fours.” It’s that there is little originality here. Their styles are too typical of the underground’s boasting of living smarter than the next. Their beats, contrived. Oh, shit, I’ve done it again, Father. I’ve spoken ill of hip-hop. Please help me stop sinning. I don’t know what I’ll do next.