Mid-century design was modern in the 50s. Stale by the 80s. And, now, contemporary again. Just ask IKEA. Or go check any Brooklyn Brownstone, Flatbush flat, or ranch-style home in Greenville, SC. If you wait long enough the old becomes new again.
Such is the cycle in hip hop and the fate of rap’s greatest generation — the golden era. Rhyme and production styles change and evolve and develop. But, the True School always returns, in vogue.
The Goodness isn’t a theme record or homage to another era. It’s just two musicians still practicing a timeless art — beats, rhymes, and life. Hip hop’s self-designated Mad Men, Sintax the Terrific and Rheomatic, are joined, on the opening cut, by two of the Native Tongue’s finest, Dres of Black Sheep and Jarobi of A Tribe Called Quest — “a couple old heads from outer space/like they come from a whole other time and place. Mad Men.”
The Goodness is one part time machine — “oh wait it’s not 1988? … you telling me it’s no longer cool to try and hate on radio rap, all that is sort of played?” — and one part pathological lie — “they will know we are Christians by our love.” It says yesterday wasn’t as good as you remember — “depends on which one/you experienced the hell or the fun,” and that tomorrow won’t be quite what you expect — “you think that you’re Future? Odd. Compute-your Commodore 64 — no future.”
But the album is mostly meant to be an encouragement that even in this “Hiroshima of Happy Days” goodness is still to be found everywhere and typically “where you look least often.” In the broken, in the fractal, and even in “the most annoying person in the venue. Goodness is alive in what we’ve been through.”
MidCentury Modern. The Goodness. New because it’s old.
The Goodness releases Friday December 16th via Illect Recordings.