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Review Apr 15 2023 Written by

Freestyle Fellowship – Innercity Griots (1993) | Review

Freestyle Fellowship - Innercity Griots (1993) | Review

Freestyle Fellowship was a Hip Hop group that formed in Los Angeles in the late 1980s. The group was comprised of four MCs – Myka 9, Aceyalone, P.E.A.C.E., and Self Jupiter. The group was part of the Project Blowed collective, which was a group of underground rappers and producers who were all about pushing the boundaries of what Hip Hop could be. Project Blowed was based out of the Good Life Cafe, which was a venue in Los Angeles where MCs and producers would gather to showcase their skills and collaborate with each other.

Freestyle Fellowship quickly gained a reputation for its unique style, which was characterized by complex rhymes, intricate flows, and a jazzy, experimental sound. They released their debut album, To Whom It May Concern, in 1991, which was well-received in the underground Hip Hop scene. But it was their second album, Innercity Griots, that really put Freestyle Fellowship on the map. The album was released in 1993 and immediately made waves. It was praised for its innovative production, complex rhymes, and unique group dynamic.

From the intro and very first track, “Bullies of the Block“, you can tell that you’re in for something special. Production on this album is absolutely incredible – it’s jazzy, experimental, and full of unexpected twists and turns. And the MCs are on another level entirely. Myka 9, Aceyalone, P.E.A.C.E., and Self Jupiter are all incredible in their own right, but when they come together as Freestyle Fellowship, it’s something truly special. The rhymes on this album are complex, intricate, and full of wordplay. There are moments where it feels like the MCs are practically bouncing off of each other, finishing each other’s sentences, and playing off each other’s flows. It’s a testament to their chemistry as a group that they’re able to pull off such intricate rhymes without ever stepping on each other’s toes.

Freestyle Fellowship - Innercity Griots (1993) | Review

One of the standout tracks on the album is “Inner City Boundaries,” which features a jazzy beat and has the rappers (with an appearance of Stetsasonic’s Daddy-O) trade verses about life in the inner city and identity. The rhymes are powerful and thought-provoking, and the beat will have you nodding your head in no time. Another standout track is “Way Cool,” which has a funky, uptempo beat and features the MCs rapping about their individual styles and what makes them unique. It’s a celebration of individuality and creativity, and it’s an absolute blast to listen to – the rhymes on this track are absolutely insane. Each member of Freestyle Fellowship takes a turn on the mic, spitting intricate rhymes that weave in and out of each other in a dizzying display of skill and creativity.

Other highlights include the upbeat “Hot Potato,” which features a beat that samples “You and Love Are the Same” by The Grass Roots (1968), and “Park Bench People”, a slow, jazzy track that features Myka 9 rapping about the people he sees sitting on park benches in his neighborhood. It’s a poignant and heartfelt meditation on poverty, addiction, and the struggle to survive in a harsh world. And the production on this track is incredible – it’s full of lush, jazzy instrumentation and it perfectly complements Myka 9’s flow.

Overall, Innercity Griots is a phenomenal album that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as classic Hip Hop albums like ATCQ’s The Low End Theory (1991), The Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride  (1992), and De La Soul’s Buhloone Mindstate (1993). Innercity Griots is a testament to the power of collaboration and experimentation, and it’s an album that continues to inspire and influence artists to this day.

Freestyle Fellowship - Innercity Griots (1993) | Review

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