Remember when all them rappers used to scream, "Keep it real"? Well, while a lot them dudes (and dudettes) were busy yelling it, here are two MCs who were busy actually doing it.
Beneficence from New Jerz has maintained in the indie rap scene for a long time and for his fifth album, Concrete Soul (which is out digitally October 30), he's backed by a lot of credible artists, including the well-respected Masta Ace , who jumps on the winning single, "Reality vs. Fiction." The agreeable production by Weirdo of Crazeology is a warm-sounding, foot-tapping return to '90s era flavor made stronger by the welcomed cuts on the hook performed by Total Eclipse of The X-Ecutioners. (Nothing says authentic hip-hop like a scratched chorus composed of lines from other MCs.)
Set near a modest basketball court and featuring a cameo from the Artifacts' El Da Sensei, the video caters to the regular, working class rap fans as the message of staying true to oneself rings loud and clear. Beneficence states: "... I had to take a chance/ They said I'd never make it 'til I wore them Hammer pants/ From my early age, you know I kept the rhyme advanced/ Told me to dumb it down, instead I kept my mind enhanced...," while Ace breaks down the formula to his longevity in a Hip-Hop Quotable:
"...I coulda hit 'em with them automatic weapon raps/ But I watch where I walk, them other cats step in traps/ I coulda copped a lot of jewels like a lot of fools / Instead I went against the grain, broke a lot of rules / Instead of braggin' to the world about how much I'm blingin' / Over some R&B record with a bunch of singin' / I coulda rocked Versace kicks and dressed extra jiggy/ And been in them flicks with Diddy standin' next to Biggie / I coulda smoked a bunch of weed and wrote a song about it/ But I realized that I could get along without it/ Maybe I'm wrong about it / Maybe I woulda won/ Sometimes I think about all the things I coulda done/ But then that doubt gets alleviated / When I shake hands with all of them fans that appreciate it."
Count us in as some of those fans, Ace.