Your Monday power-up has just arrived.
Meet John Robinson (AKA Sci) – a creator, label-runner, educator, MF DOOM collaborator, and then some. His new album KING JR – dropped on Friday and things escalated quickly. Honestly, been spinning this for 2 days now and just can’t get enough of it.
JR has quite an interesting story. Growing up in the tri-state area (The Bronx, to Queens, to Jersey), his love for hip hop sparkled early on when witnessed a friend’s parents show and tell about their musical endeavors. That pivotal moment gave Robinson his first inflection point in a life of hip-hop. Soon after, he started making his own poems and raps with friends. Eventually, he formed Lil’ Sci of Scienz of Life – a group with his brother. Their work was noticed by New York radio host Bobbito who later became his connection to MF DOOM. Robinson, later on, moved to Los Angeles right before the percolation of the local lo-fi beat scene in 2003. Work with Blu, Emanon (Exile and Aloe Blacc), Ta’Raach and more through independent label Shaman Work Recordings helped round Robinson’s professional catalog in front of and behind the scenes. He then made his way back east to the tri-state area on behalf of Shaman Work when the label worked with Wise Intelligent and C.L. SmoothNow back in the South, Robinson is complimenting his career as an artist as one as an educator. He co-wrote Youth Power Culture: A #HipHopEd Guide to Building Teacher-Student Relationships and Increasing Student Engagement with Dr. Jason Rawls, also known as producer J. RAWLS. His hands-on work in communities, classrooms, and board rooms around the country touch on all that he’s learned in his career – specifically how the elements of hip-hop can be localized in the classroom and global in a career.
My pick for the day is “Heavy Ghetto” featuring Eloh Kush and Blu who is a familiar face on the fox. Kush leads the track with the battle cry of “I’m a righteous renegade“ that sets the tone for this song that is a cipher for these emcees who are contrasting royalty and higher powers with brushes of politics, corruption, and the ghetto mentality that is most underrated yet a very powerful part of Hip Hop Culture, which is making something from Nothing. Blu not only provides an upbeat, organ-riddled instrumental but a powerful closing verse.
The cut-off brass work is an absolute cherry on the top. The whole track is straight-up energy from the very first bar.