In this day and age, it seems that controversy, negativity, sexually explicit lyrics and violence are being adopted by more and more hip-hop artists in order to sell their product; choosing to gain attention with shock and awe tactics, rather than with true musical talent. During its 30+ year history, hip-hop has grown beyond the stigma of only being a voice of the inner city during the 70’s and 80’s, and has since broken social, racial and economic boundaries, proving itself as a viable genre of musical expression.
So why is it that nowadays one has to search beyond the commercial “Hip-Pop” that permeates the radio dials in order to hear musically talented artists reminiscent of hip-hop’s golden era of the early 90’s? Similar to how disco dumbed down jazz and funk music, the current state of mainstream hip-hop is lacking in substance, both musically and lyrically, and is in dire need of a makeover.
With that said, it’s refreshing to introduce the talented music of R.P.M. (Restoring Poetry In Music).
R.P.M., like many of its predecessors, incorporates samples and drum breaks from rare-groove and funk albums of the past, while incorporating talented musicians to their own sound. However, they are not just a studio band. They can also deliver their live show, which is forceful and further cements their validity.
On their debut album, Dream Awake, R.P.M. demonstrates how the syncopated sounds of hip-hop can also embody the human feel of live instrumentation. Consisting of lyricist Raw Poetic, whose flow is passionate and expressive, R.P.M. is backed by the talented guitarist P-Fritz, bassist Drew Thomas, keyboardist and trumpeter Aaron Gause, and Marlon Vann who provides the crafty samples and beats.
This album represents the progress that hip-hop music has achieved by merely being expressive without concern for stardom or profits.