This is that time you stared up high
analyzed the sky.
the deep treasured pockets
and racistly short limbs
of employers to your survival
The score is your baby’s giggles
yells of bliss.
When the love
of your Earth’s foods
spread their nutrients.
Where Sigung’s moves become part of your lineage.
The moment your heart meets
your daughter you fight to see.
As when the light of your enlightener
has paved the road
to the history you write.
Beautiful moon has collected
to share just as the Sun is
to a lovely light of mine.
As above, so below,
you know you all that you see
and so all,
you must reveal.
Concealed to reload,
Replenish oppression’s blemish,
Let our weaponry embellish…
It is time to speak of the four weapons concealed in the Polo goose lining. The horses they ride are charged by beat spurs and they wave mallets of verses. All shown and proven on the lawns of lost music. These four weapons the philosophers of tomorrow listening may call the interchange Knowledge, Strength, Creativity, Love. On this one long player, we knew them as J-Love, Whyz Ruler, Be Born and Prince Original in twenty ciphers.
Knowledge. MCs that learned the craft from the unseen textbooks. Chapters of experience filled with the battling essays of artistic ideas versus concrete insights. The footnote foundation of saying something worthwhile with the appendices of stylistic illness attached by any means necessary. Page by page, each armament of Concealed Weaponry are poetic prose manuals of MCing excellence. There is so much elevated skill with the MCs we have come to know from Whyz Ruler and Prince Original catapulting off their One Life to Live (#ArtOnArt & #ScienceOnMusic review HERE & exclusive interview HERE) and He Exists (#ArtOnArt & #ScienceOnMusic review HERE) debuts. This mixes with the surprise increases of the already proficient J-Love (#ArtOnArt & #ScienceOnMusic review of Pardon the Intrusion LP HERE & exclusive interview HERE) and our first aural sights of Be Born.
Subject matter and precision song writing are the foundation of knowledge that powers Shown & Proven. Topics ranging from the expected to the necessary to the completely clever. The expected topics as shady women on “Summer’s Eve” are given dynamic stylistic punctuations such Whyz Ruler’s “Let that bitch GO!,” along with the guest verse from the legendary stylist, Thirstin Howl the 3rd. The needed battle raps are given context as “2 Shot Derringer” and its crisp back and forth quick bar flip that rounds the cipher countless times. As the song progresses with about 4 bars and passed from MC to MC, the 4 brothers along with guests Gee Dubs and Victorious, the mic declarations become cemented so well the track is anthemic. Then there are the completely clever with stories told through themes as “Heart of a Mexican” which become more than a gimmick but real street tales with our Mexican brothers along with the salutatory Prince Original verse and Be Born’s bilingual cunning. The sum of all of Shown & Proven’s countless subjects unite into an almost invisible edutainment. The addiction of the MC techniques and the sharpness of the pounding drums throughout is all a special expertise that masks the medicine of builds that flood this record.
Strength. The beatwork power is so efficiently done. Every track with a steady smashing of 1, 2 breaks shared in varying tempos, hard snare punches and bassline grooves that surround the MCs and propel the musical hooks that cling to the ideas, stories and builds of the writers on the mic. The Mariachi horns and distant flamenco clacks that character “Heart of Mexican,” the menacing strings paired with the deep, long bassline on “Subway Story,” the high pitch keys and cymbal crash snare of “Pure Adrenaline,” the “Horse Blinders” opener that introduces these Polo’d warriors riding on a break that blends perfectly with the chiming in of galloping horses and clanging spurs or the very thick guitar plucks that wrap around flute’d chorus on the mid tempo “Not Built To Last.” Tracks diverse in tempo, sampled up uniquely and drummed rugged in differentiation. It lets the MCs expose all of their…
Creativity. These MCs grew up with the cultural expressions of Hip Hop. They were crafting rhymes amidst the poverty, wrote ideas when oppression became a seen force against them and saw their talents rise with every lesson learned. It spills on these songs just as J-Love’s verse on “Pure Adrenaline” dropping “grew up in the 80’s/getting paper in the 90’s/mixtape violator since the days of Chris Lighty/A New York original, we don’t make trap music/I respect it from down south/or else it sounds stupid/never been a follower, we father timeless/trying to save the youth from becoming straight sword swallowers…for essence of sincerity/in an era of impurity…” J-Love’s verses throughout constantly add up to a manifesto of principles in the same strong vein of Cormega’s Mega Philosophy. The intensity of the LP is rooted in Whyz Ruler who brings stylistic changes and drive to every verse as on “Not Built To Last.” With broken up choruses leading into his chopped flow bars of brilliant biography, “Runnin’/ gunnin’/ wheelin’/ dealin’/ some of the dumb ones/ then we started listening/ reading/learning/true meanings/losing/wining/fair ones/ no beginnings/ endings/food, clothing, shelter/improvements for better/nothing came between us…” Prince Original exemplifies the massive growth and development. His debut LP had glimpses of expert flow but it didn’t quite match the heights of his content. Here, his monotone flows are breathless and his pacing techniques are powerful. His burst statements on “Didn’t I” stand him on the square with perfect cadence rhyming, “Tell you I was grinding/I’d make it/so when I see it, I take it/through all the pain and the hatred—-Tell you I was sweating/and bleeding/ stepped in the garden of Eden/ with all the vipers and heathens—Tell you niggas constantly scheming/first chance I was leaving/ and its like my mind was depleted…” that continues through his verse brilliantly. And then the newest microphone expert to us, Be Born, fills the album with an emphasis on layered lyricism that melodifies all his lyrics. Just as his B-Boy showmanship days with greats as Special Ed and Nice & Smooth, his timing is precise and the listenability of his verses is an addiction. As he dances on the breaks on “Avoiding Temptations” as an one mere example, he bars, “We’ve been deceived, taking that bait/getting gaffled/Nowadays nothing is forbidden/hidden or taboo/dudes jumping out the window with no parachute for capital/you only live once attitude/there’s no limit to what you do/climb the ladder seeking higher altitudes/the moves you make are lateral/ set out to embarrass you…” A literal playing with internal rhymes and layered syllables through tempo changes, a mixture of long and short phrases, pauses at odd moments and recovered for perfect fluidity, Be Born is a B-Boy trapped in the bliss of wax.
Love. The sincerest care for a supremely understood and cherished cipher whether it be a person, place or thing. These four brothers made the livest of LPs that make the difficulty of MCing on the hardest of breaks, that we have ignored, assumed plain and forgotten as the root, all into an effortless, exciting reality. Tracks recorded completely live in studio with MCs all trading their verses, constructing these song creatures of drum walking words together. The brotherhood and camaraderie
focused into these passioned explosions of composed insights is Shown & Proven. An incredible debut they have marched in with and as this writer has heard even greater selections from their upcoming sophomore LP in the works, Concealed Weaponry cannot be my secret any longer but our rugged treasure in a violent world.