My lil homie, R.i.C, is back! This time, he’s put together his debut mixtape with 23 tracks of hip hop for your listening pleasure. Breaking Hoolig@n$ is R.i.C’s attempt to combine his love for hip hop and social justice. Overall, i think that he successfully demonstrates that. His opening track, “Awake” details his struggle to be a “good” suburban kid while still “keeping it real” enough to gain acceptance from the brothers on the block.
His struggle to appeal to people interested in social justice and the streets is evident throughout the rest of Breaking Hoolig@n$. On the one hand, he critiques racism, vows to free the imprisoned, and promises to treat women with respect. On the other hand, he and his guests are still learning the subtleties of patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia, and many other forms of oppression that are deeply entrenched in American culture. For that reason, i would like to encourage R.i.C and his guests to think critically about the effect of rapping about taking someone else’s girl, referring to people and ideas as “gay” or “homo,” and freely using “nigga” and “bitch” throughout the album. Also, i’m curious as to why it’s so important to people (especially those from the suburbs) to appeal to “the streets” (also read, “the block” or making it sound “hard”). I have already spoken with R.i.C about this, and am confident that he (much like me and many others who are dedicated to social justice) will continue to learn ways that he can continue to grow and better reflect the ideals that he believes will make the world better for everyone.
Overall, i LOVE this mixtape. In fact, i’ve listen to it just about every day since, R.i.C first sent it my way! During my first listen, i was simply trying to give each track a good listen so that i could provide R.i.C with some critical feedback. I listened to the album out of order and was greatly impressed with each track. Both the production and the message in each song let me know that R.i.C and his friends in Front Row Gang are some talented individuals. I have no doubt that he, Nicole Eboni, Hooligan, Cado, and the whole team will be a powerful force in hip hop culture in the very near future.
I encourage you to stream and download this mixtape (which is mixed by yours truly by the way), share it with your friends via social media, and post comments on R.i.C’s Facebook page. You can also hit him up on Twitter with critical feedback. As a Chicago Freedom School alum and self-reflective individual, he is open to loving critique and encouragement.