Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Great Bands You (prolly) Never Heard About (pt4)

Great Bands You (prolly) Never Heard About (pt4) -

The Marginal Prophets

This post is going to go in a little different musical direction than my norm. I am not much of a Rap type person. I've always been much more Rock, Metal, Punk, and even Classical and a little John Denver thrown in before rap type person. That's not to say that I don't enjoy some good rap every now and then. When I say good rap, there were two kinds of rap that I liked funny and not serious humor rap like the Beastie Boys or Hardcore rap in the vein of Public Enemy, NWA, and Ice-T. I always had a problem with the middle ground type of rap/hip hop because it was either forgettable or too corny for me to really like. I just couldn't take it seriously - like when they tried to re-invent Hammer as a Gangsta Rapper. I just couldn't listen to it. I either wanted something that was not serious at all and the artist new it or I wanted really hardcore stuff. I also liked artists who used to actually rap and not just go "Ugh" and shake their head like P.Diddy seemed to be up to all the time in the 90's. I'm also not a big fan of total digitally enhanced singing like Kanye (although I do love T.Pain on backups). I liked good word play and interesting music. In the late 90's and early 2000's it had been years since I had really listened to anything hip hop or rap related because nothing stuck with me. Maybe a little bit of Tupac, Snoop, and Eminem but mostly Rap was dead to me.

Along came The Marginal Prophets...they fit in the humor rap category but they were much more than just funny lyrics. I first became aware of The Marginal Prophets, when I worked at as the program director for my college student radio station. It was one of the many random CDs that we received one week. I thought the artwork was decent but didn't hold much faith for the music. I was wrong. MP used tons of samples (without permission) to wonderful and great effect. You'll hear Status Quo, Tori Amos, Jesus Christ Superstar, and everything in between. I do mean everything. Basically they are the hip-hop version of Scatterbrain. There are more samples on each track than most albums have in their entirety. Usually I would say that is a bad thing...but here it works. The samples are interwoven and layered to make a very interesting base. Even if you don't like the traditional bass heavy rap music, you will be able to connect and groove to something on this CD, it has a little something for everyone. Being non-musically talented as I am, I thought to myself "Now this is the type of CD I would make" but of course I wouldn't and couldn't because the Prophets are talented even if you think they are just "borrowing someone else's music."

I am really only familiar with their debut CD - Twist the Knob. Not everything on it is a masterpiece but I find that I can listen to it all in a sitting very easily and not get bored (which is pretty rare for any rap/hip-hop album for me). It is one of those albums where I am constantly discovering new lyrics that I had overlooked and they always bring me new appreciation for the Prophets. Here are a few of my favorites off the album:

Phat in the Whole (Rock Mix)

Like This!

Girlfriend is the Best

So why am I am only familiar with their debut album? Well, I actually ordered their second album Bohemian Rap CD (which still makes me chuckle) when it first came out. I listened to it once and it disappeared. Completely. Gone. No sign of the CD, the case, or even the packaging that I received it in. It was kind of weird...I have lost CDs before, many times in fact, but this was strange as I could not even start to guess where it went. Usually I have some idea, whether I left if at work, accidentally dropped it out of a car, or loaned it to someone...I usually halfway know what happened to it. Marginal Prophets? No trace, the men and black must have come and repo'd it. It had too much power for this world. I need to buy it again but you don't mess with forces like that. What were my first impressions? Well that it was much more polished than their original. Truthfully, not sure if that was bad or good. I remember it being decent but nothing grabbed my attention but that is not rare for a rap album, my ear is just not attuned. I remember thinking it was pretty decent though (and it won a California Music Award for Outstanding Rap Album 2004). You can check out a couple tracks on the MP site.

I don't think the Marginal Prophets are active anymore. Maybe they are on extended hiatus. I am not sure, but if you enjoy the music at all, I would suggest buying the CD directly from the artist. You can get them off Keith Knight's (the black one) web site. You can also get their live album.

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