Holden It Down
I must be getting old. I mean 30 feels like the new 50. In certain instances it feeels as if I’ve lived twice the lifetime. Why? Time is moving at the speed of technology. With each passing day society is Hip Hop culture has always been a culture of freshness, however; the culture is well over 30 years old. The kids that were pioneers are now grandparents Many of the kids listening to rap music probably can’t remember when Diddy was Puffy and Dr. Dre was actually producing with regularity; to go further down memory lane would probably begin to sound like a lecture from a In fact arguably 30 and under fans So a few months ago when I was surrounded by 20 somethings at a Hip Hop show in Pomona, I felt like Michael Jordan at practice with the Bobcats. I was shifting through a visual parade of skinny jeans, face piercings, frizzy hair and a myriad of other fashion faux paus reserved for I love the 90’s on VH1.
Hip Hop culture has changed since I first learned the words to De La Soul’s Me, Myself and I. What hasn’t changed in the way kids keep the culture “fresh” even if it means going “retro”. Sometimes as a 30 year old I forget that Hip Hop is a culture of tapestry, of taking elements from your surroundings and reshaping them into something new. When I first heard Mic Holden I was instantly taken to my “fresh” place in my subconscious; the place reserved for my creativity and inspiration. He was the physical embodiment of what Hip Hop was truly rooted in; a rappers rapper as the saying goes. It was as if the entire era of boom bap found a vessel in the Ingelwood native and instantly I was transported back to my Mom’s Pontiac Van listening to Gangstarr’s “Just to Get a Rep”. Mic Holden is lyrically proficient, his delivery is academic, and his style is on par with the best of the vets. His DJ and fellow artist Megalos is the perfect partner for such a distinct artist. Megalos uses the MPC and Kasoss pad creating a sonic sound the echoes DJ Premier and the late Guru. Megalos can alter the musical landscape according to his whim which gives Holden a new sound each time he performs.
Mic Holden is an old soul that somehow found his way to the year 2010. His musicality would have been praised in the early 90’s as progessive and imaginative. The danger of such a skill set is the penchant for the causal listener to ignore meticulously refined art. Holden according to his bio has descended from the culture of “bebop” which has in turn given him a dynamic sound that most rappers dare not to engage. Holden seems to be moving backwards in an effort to move forward, preserving the most crucial element of Hip Hop culture the art of sampling. If you truly enjoy Hip Hop at it’s core then Mic Holden is an artist you should put on your iTunes playlist.
His latest effort Cray-Z The Blackout Album is a nod to Jay-Z and features restructured tracks from some of Jay-Z’s best songs. Mic Holden is one of a few artist capable of pulling off such a feat, instead of trying to channel the Brooklyn legend; Holden seems to rap from a distance with a hindsight of how much Jay-Z means to Hip Hop. What’s so refreshing is that what could have been a corny concept, comes off as a sincere letter from a fan showing appreciation to not only Jay-Z but the Hip Hop culture itself. The essential Mic Holden is probably best demonstrated on his LP After the Laughter. Holden explores a plethora of subjects from Jesus Christ to College life. After the Laughter is one of the few albums since the release of Kanye’s College Dropout that is willing to explore the narrative of the “Everyman” in Hip Hop culture. Mic Holden should be in the conversation with emerging artists like J. Cole and Cyhi The Prince for his instinct to artistically paint lyrical pictures of the middle class college grad. Check out Mic Holden @ twitter.com/MicHolden for all the latest updates on this emerging artist from the West Coast. Also check out Mic Holden’s bandcamp page @ micholden.bandcamp.com.
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