The line “all of y’all consumed by this money and the fashion/it’s got me all confused like “where is the passion?” can easily be used for hip-hop music of the last 15 years, and that’s not saying that all of hip-hop is on a downward spiral. It’s a say of asking why do some care about music that doesn’t care about anything but endorsements and how it looks? This is music, not a clothing line, and Portland, Oregon’s Serge Severe finds him going back to a vibe that used to be in abundance in the music he calls his own, on an album of his own, Back On My Rhymes.

Serge has never been “off” of his rhymes, but it’s an emphasis on going back, and simply saying “let’s continue”. In other words, this is very much a modern day album, not a retro one although it most certainly has the few of hip-hop in the 90′s pre Wu-Tang (November 1993 for those keeping track). It goes back to the overused “beats, rhymes & life” analogy but it fits here because that’s what Serge does, simply drop rhymes over hot beats and samples, and just delivering the goods. The ego is in the attitude and flow, but with the MC cap on, he simply creates one song after the other that works from start to finish, as the mission that it is and always will be.

What I enjoy about this album is that it has what younger audiences will call an “old school feel”, and maybe if we are to talk about target marketing, this style is one of the past, but I don’t feel it has ever left. To me, it just sounds like a 14-song album made with an emphasis to make an impact on anyone who listens. There are a lot of competitors and imitators out there, but this is someone who loves the music enough to want to share it with old and new fans alike. Also from Portland is Braille, who guests on “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” as they bust lyrics about using words as ammunition and music as a weapon, and as Braille talks about rubbing No. 2′s (pencils) until sparks ignite (writing lyrics for a potential song), you can’t help but think “damn, this is just ridiculous”.

It’s hip-hop that isn’t meant to be wallpaper at your bungalow, this is music that moves you to think. Serge Severe has made his fans think, want, and demand more of what he has to offer, and this new album is sure to move his talents outside of his core audience and into a wider realm, while still keeping to the “shoes” he started his path in years ago.

(Back On My Rhymes will be released on February 22nd. If you are in Portland on Friday, February 18th, he will have a CD release party at Ash Street Saloon (225 SW Ash St.) with special guests, so head to the show, and then grab a meal at Big Ass Sandwiches across the street.)

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Download link

Review Courtesy of John Book of This Is Book’s Music