Got dummysmacked by some sort of virus which has laid me up for the day here at the homestead. Figured I’d listen visit the Boogiemporium to see what kinda trouble we could get into. This morning, I figured we’d go back to school seeing as, this week, all the kiddos finally went back to their respective educational institutions. I think, as a soon-to-be parent, it’s important we get an accurate feel for the musical landscape for youngsters. Seems that, from what I’ve seen, that’s landscape is pretty bleak. We’re hoping to turn a corner with today’s selection from the bottom shelf…
Admittedly, I’m often very critical of records that attempt to blend Rap with anything else. I’m a purist that way. I want Rap to be Rap. Rap doesn’t need an R&B hook. It doesn’t need Ashanti. Rap didn’t need Limp Bizkit. And Rap doesn’t need to be educational. It’s a very fine line that you’re walking when you make an educational Rap record. Someone up to the challenge is emcee L.Hood from Michigan.
His recording School Bus Rap (School Bus Records, 2000) which is not even available on CDBaby (the music industry equivalent of “straight-to-video”) is seven-song offering that, frankly, fails to educate and falls short of a Rap classification. It’s more like “Romper Room” meets a third-hand Radio Shack entry-level drum machine. And, goodness, that cover art is absolutely atrocious. When I see cover art like that, it’s what I think 60-year old white record industry product managers think of hip hop. What kinda lame bomber would spray paint “E=MC²” on the side of a bus? Pretty sure you’d get you ass kicked more than once for doing that in the hood. Or “2+2”? Yeah, straight up, you’re getting chased down and beat up for your lunch money.
The contents of the record are, well, right on the cover. There’s a song cleverly called “The Solar System” followed by “Multiplication Rap.” Then, my favorite, “You Know Your Facts,” (reminiscent of “Know the Ledge”?) then “This is Addition.” Word ’em up, you gotta have some social studies in there, so L.Hood taps into some “50 States” rapping. Then, he pulls it all together in the end with “Values” and “History.”
Let’s be real, here. L.Hood is not a rapper. Try as he may, he is not a rapper. Sadly, he is also not a teacher. He “trains” teachers. Sure. Yeah. Got it. What he is, however, is a Too Short rip-off. Like, seriously, he sounds just like Too Short and every song sounds like another verse of “Freaky Tales” except, well, it’s not good. In fact, it’s a trainwreck. Absolute…train…wreck…
It’s like Tourette’s meets multiplication tables. Dude’s got no flow. Got no style. Got no business trying to make educational rap. Just because it’s for kids doesn’t mean you dumb down your game. You at least gotta rhyme. I couldn’t even make it past the second song before my ears started throbbing from the pain of listening to this.
I can’t possibly objectively review this product. It’s probably better I just let the creator of this crappy piece of crap speak for it. Here’s L.Hood:
I have been teaching young children for the past five years. I have enjoyed my time in the classroom and touching the many lives of inner city children. I am currently working as a trainer with the Edison Schools, where I train other teachers in the reading and writing program.
The purpose of creating the “School Bus Rap” is two fold. The first being, I know what enables children to learn. That is, they have to have an interest in what they are learning. Most children love to listen to music and it doesn’t take long for them to learn the words to the songs because they enjoy the music. What I wanted to do was incorporate learning into music. This will allow students to participate in learning in an exciting and meaningful way.
The second being, I’ve already seen success in my own child and my classroom students. I have been creating songs for children for the past five years. I have created songs for my students to help them learn concepts from States & Capitals to multiplication facts. As long as the children learn the words to the songs it has been proven that the information is retained. I could take that same information out of context and ask a question. I would see their minds go to work because they’re moving their heads and going over the words to the song in their minds.
This is a product that I would recommend to every teacher, parent, and tutor to increase learning and interest in education.
If it’s any indication of how successful this product is, not even CDBaby has any to ship. The sample links don’t even work anymore. I can’t find any information on the one L.Hood and “educationalsongs.com” doesn’t even exist. This product is truly obsolete.
And that’s a good thing. Otherwise, I would’ve completely lost faith in parents and kids alike as being capable of discerning an absolutely void of talent like this garbage. Seems the market is still looking for a decent educational-rap hybrid music product. I swear it doesn’t exist. I’m still right.
One-half Dirty for L.Hood. Glad you’re not still rapping.