Bay Area Rapper/Producer Paris has long been regarded as the keeper of the Funk. Not California’s ever-popular G-Funk, but actual 70’s era Funk-inspired concoctions. The reason why he hasn’t gone down in the pantheon of Rap’s elite is because many couldn’t handle the no-holds-barred revolution of his gangstafied rhyme style. With this Hard Truth Soldiers, Volume 1 compilation, however, the sound purists will no longer be able to disregard the genius that is Paris and his Guerilla Funk Recordings. Here, he props up his supreme mixes with the verses of highly regarded MC’s like M-1 and Stic.Man, MC Ren, and Chuck D. Even longtime collaborators, The Conscious Daughters, show up with Bay Area rhyme-songstress Mystic to let women know that the struggle continues.
Kam produces the opening track and sets it off with “Can’t Break Me,” a synth-heavy remix of Whodini’s “Friends” beat. Ren comes to the table to live up to all the hype from his NWA days with “Still Ain’t Free.” The bass driven track pounds with silky organs and whispery keys. Then Paris and Chuck D come together to lead the war cry with “Can’t Hold Us Back.” If you thought this was going to be just a pity party, you were sadly mistaken. The groove makes you want to pick up arms and march on the capital with the best blaze over up-tempo drums and synthesized bass lines that could have come off a blaxploitation film soundtrack.
Things get even more serious when T-K.A.S.H. tosses in “Made In America” over a grimy urban melody. This Molotov cocktail of a song is a direct address to the state of the urban Black man. Then, keeping things hood are newcomers Uno The Prophet and Truth Universal, who deliver two scathing commentaries in the form of “Officer Down” and “Inspiration,” respectively. The titles say it all.
As an added bonus, you get a front row seat to two underground meetings of the mind in the form of posse tracks “Down With Us” and “Dear Mr. President.” The S.t.o.p. Movement meetings include a few words from attendees KRS-One, Defari, Mobb Deep, Daz, WC, Everlast, and Dilated Peoples, among others, addressing the current state of affairs to the sound of rebel drums.
Suffice it to say, Hard Truth Soldiers, Volume 1 is defiant, incendiary revolutionary music for the discriminating mind. Since it won’t be televised, you might want to pick up the soundtrack.