Good thing Kajmere Sound’s Impeach the Precedent compilation is as consistently energetic as it is. Proceeds from the album benefit the Rainforest Action Network, whose fight for the rainforests and their inhabitants began in 1985 with nonviolent protests, letter-writing campaigns and media coverage. But Bush’s campaign promises regarding most eminent concerns of U.S. citizens have gone relatively unexplored, and anything that might elevate political awareness can’t hurt.
Impeach is the second official release in a series that culls together hip-hop, soul and funk for causes that have slipped under the frilly carpets and discarded memorandums in Washington, D.C. This lengthy compilation follows 1999’s Funky Precedent, a benefit for music education in California public schools that features Jurassic 5, Black Eyed Peas, Aceyalone and others. Matador released Funky Precedent Vol. 2 in 2001, bringing together Rasco, Anticon and Pep Love to benefit a Bay Area school, but that volume is considered unauthorized. This time around, the artists range from West Coast hip-hop outfits including People Under the Stairs and the Globetroddas, soulful meditations from Damon Aaron, and the sultry funk of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. And all are mostly addressing political awareness, or lack thereof.
DJ Shortkut opens Impeach to great success with a turntable manhandling of Roy C. Hammond and the Honey Drippers’ “Impeach the President.” The comp cooks pretty much throughout its bulky sixteen tracks, reaching noteworthy peaks in Thes One and J Live’s Earth-centered “Give it Up” and the Globetroddas’ moral soapbox “Love.” As far as hyped, smokin’ funk goes, Poets of Rhythm’s and New Mastersounds’ buzz could easily have surfaced some thirty years back, with their frenzy of dusty drums and thick organ chords. Impeach the Precedent should be able to hold down most Friday-night parties. Plus, owning it is one step toward usurping presidential power.