In this day and time where mainstream Hip Hop has gone pophop and it’s all about the illusionary image you portray to get paid or raped, there are still some masters of ceremonies left that respect Hip Hop as a cultural art form. Unfortunately the MC has become a gimmicky fake, just another 9 to 5 job to retards that have built their Hip Hop foundation in pophop’s sandy basement. The Hip Hopper staying true to hard beats and dope real rap rhymes has witnessed the mainstream media and empty headed crash dummies make a shuck and jive show out of something that was once sacred amongst the echoes of the ghetto. The dying breed might not have all the avenues for their voices to be heard but they are still kicking and screaming and won’t go quietly into the night of brain dead matter.

This brings me to this new Planet Asia album called Black Belt Theatre. If you never heard of Planet Asia before, he is a shining star amongst the dying breed ever since he broke through scene in 2000 with his homie Rasco droppin the Cali Agents album debut (How the West Was One). Ever since then, he has been heavy on the underground Hip Hop scene dropping a number of albums with quality real rap beats with real rap rhymes. This Hip Hopper got a number of Planet Asia joints on his Ipod that done made his neck sore from boppin along.

Black Belt Theatre is laced with heavy drums, hard bass and lots and lots of soulful samples. These beats are standard issue Hip Hop all the way. They will remind you of some of your favorite Hip Hop producers that have solidified their position in this game in stone.  The “Daggers and Darts” sample is an instant head nodder that had me singing the sample hook to this joint while I was walkin’ down every block getting them ‘he crazy’ looks. “No Apologies” is ultra-tough with the iron horse Bronx vibe to it, with Shallah Raekwon icing that cake lovely. “All Mine” sounds a little radio friendly but still hard in its own right.  Paul Wall gives standard issue rap bars that I would rather listen too than, let’s say, a wak miller. The “Fuck Rappers” beat is on that fly 70’s shit but the horns on it are too nice– smooth out but leather rugged—with  Fashawn and Willie the Kid very listenable on that track. Overall,  the beats are crack belt sun. They are quality head nodders for when you in the zone. You gonna be loving these joints like new pussy in the back seat of the Honda.

But face it, the words gotta go with the beats right? You dont want some wack nigga spitting uninspiring wack shit to beats he don’t deserve like a lazy fat nigga winning the lottery, nah mean?!  Asia has always been a quality spitter throughout his career. His voice commands the mic, he has good rhyme style and his punch lines are a little witty, plus straight forward.  Unfortunately, if you followed Asia’s career with a fine toothed comb he can lull you to sleep at certain points with filler tracks. Still, Black Belt Theatre has brought us vintageAsia with more of an edge and a maturity to his style which to me has shown he has had a great growth spurt. His knowledge is more in tune with the streets, Supreme Mathematics and materialistic desires. This is his version of growing into a more complete MC which I have seen over the years that brothers that respect the art are able to grow and expand their art form and take it to new heights and levels. All in all, I might fall asleep on Asia like being with a chick at a boring movie, but wake up when she says it’s time to knock boots.

Black Belt Theatre is a well put together album that brought me back to Planet Asia with force. It’s for the last surviving members of the Hip Hop community, with on point beats and dope rhymes  with a grown man twist that comes with maturity and experience in your craft. It’s not that pophop bullshit with no musical soul and is like a brainless hoe spinning on a poll for a couple of dollars.

Review By Gillie Gillz