Lords of the Underground came into the hip-hop world with the 1993 underground, East Coast near-classic Here Comes The Lords. Little has been heard from them in recent years, except for an album in 2007 that was released so under the radar that they might as well not made it. So, to have the chance to review a new mixtape by one of the members (“The Me You Never Heard” by Doitall) comes as a surprise.
Well, Doitall’s lyrics and beats sure have changed. Lords of the Underground on Here Comes The Lords favored jazz-based samples with a golden-age era flow. But Doitall is definitely susceptible to what is popular nowadays, adding support for calling his mixtape “The Me You Never Heard.” There’s a lot more violent imagery and talking about “hustlin and grindin.” There’s a lot of Doitall rappping about how great he is, and playing the “I am a member of a classic hip hop outfit” card. Well, it’s kind of a shock. The worst example of this is the track “HE,” with the irritating chorus, “He does it for the love/He’s out for some blood/He’s mister make him clap/ He’s mister get them stacks/He’s mister lays a track/ He’s the man, he’s your fam, he’s the one.” It’s kind of depressing to hear a classic rapper trying to still prove himself.
But it’s not all bad. Doitall definitley does prove he’s still got skills and can still pull something off. Most of the beats are well chosen. Also, Doitall mixes the ring tone rap themes with social consciousness. “No Sunshine” is the perfect example that shows Doitall still being able to make something with substance. It’s a track that has Doitall rapping about how the “The project is a project exactly what they called it/ common sense aint common so it’s hard to use logic.” He makes a pretty serious, rough track. It’s a really great gem that Talib Kweli, Mos Def, or Nas would wish they would have thought of.
Doitall exercises his lyrical skills well on the “The Me You Never Heard” mixtape. But, unfortunately, it shows signs of how even classic MCs are susceptible to popular ring tone rap, probably to try to get some airplay. It’s well-crafted, and well put together, but hopefully rap’s standards will change for the better.