Artist on the Rise - Kidz in the Hall

. Mar 11, 2008

I'm a big fan of intellectual hip hop, and ever since listening to KRS-One and the Native Tongues Posse (ATCQ, Jungle Brothers, De La Soul), my fascination has steadily increased. This is one of the reasons why I became such a devout follower of Nas's music, and when Lupe Fiasco came out, my hunger for such intellectual hip hop became more pronounced. Lupe's incredible wordplay and under-the-table metaphors ("wipe the rain from my dear like dasher") quickly drew me to his music even before his official albums came out. I really can't stress enough how his mixtape materials are far closer to classic material than his albums are.

Another Chicago native like Lupe, Naledge met his DJ/producer Double-O while attending the University of Pennsylvania. Yes, these are Ivy-Leaguers who have formed to create an unstoppable group, harkening us back to the golden ages where the MC/DJ duo was the prominent presence on the stage. Recall Rakim and Eric B. (for President!!); and KRS-One and Scott La Rock. Nevertheless, don't assume that because we have Ivy Leaguers on wax, they are not conducive to the streets. In fact, over several songs Naledge speaks of the apparent contradictions in his life, having grown up in Southside Chicago: "College bred rap star, Walking contradiction"; and "Black kids called me white just because I could read, White kids called me strange cuz of my African name".

Add to this intellect and MC/DJ dynamic with smooth stories ("Ms. Juanita"), quick witticisms ("A presence in the hood call me transmission"), thought-provoking ideas ("Sambos and jeze-bels/Porch monkeys tryin’ to sell/Propaganda to they own people/Still trapped in hell"), the difficulties of being a student ("Student loans kicking in, broken again"), and a perpetual, passionate flow - you have Kidz in the Hall, a down-to-earth group that is trying to turn the "underground universal." Now, in no way am I saying they're taking it back to the Golden Days of Hip Hop (early '90s), but they have the right formula and foundation to take us there. It especially doesn't hurt that they're true students of the game, a noticeable trait given their references to Pharcyde, Native Tongues, DJ Premier, and Souls of Mischief. In due time, this duo will have learned to develop their craft and help us to reminisce about those days. G-d knows, they are one of the few in this game who can do so. G-d speed.

For more information, check out their myspace page. Be sure to check out their first album that dropped, School Was My Hustle, a release from 2006, as well as the various mixtapes dropped by them: Detention, Naledge is Power, and Geniuses Need Love Too. In addition, be on the lookout for their new album dropping really soon, The In Crowd.

Peep the video for their single "Wheelz Fall Off ('06 Til) that dropped awhile ago. You true hip hop heads will notice the classic beat:

Naledge: “With the brains of a nerd, so insane with the words."