Mood :: Doom :: Blunt Recordings
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Rowald Pruyn

Mood wanted to make a mirror image of the mentality and mind of a decaying late nineties hip-hop culture. In turn, the world they wanted to bring back to life mirror-imaged their efforts. Did these prophets choose the wrong methods? They wanted to resurrect their beloved culture from Cincinnati, a dormant city not looking for a REVIVER. Their riddled lyrics spoke of Babylon, but they had their EYE on Brooklyn. They didn't find a printer capable of distributing their audiobook of rhymes to the four corners of the globe. And above all, visiting prophets Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek took their message to their own congregations, and became DEIFIED. The original wise men stayed behind, struggling in relative anonymity. WE FEW who know their work, value "Doom."

"Hip-Hop is the quality of a feeling at a particular time. It's a frame of mind. It's a mood. The prevailing emotional tone of black youth today. Mood music: A lush arrangement of popular sounds to induce a mood of relaxation. See, to me hearin' MC's rock over beats, that shit is soothin'. The current mood of hip-hop is stagnant and not movin'. So stop it! Motherfuckers. There is more to life than companies deciding what's the latest topic, you suckers. We're killing each other and we're poisoning the seeds before they grow. Destroy my seed, and you've got to go. I am Talib Kweli. And we livin' this shit. Changin' the mood of the entire industry."

(Talib Kweli on "Peddlers of Doom")

DON'T NOD like you are truly feeling this MC's mood on the current state of hip-hop. The intense emotion in his words, which gives his honeydew voice unusual 'DAMMIT I'M MAD!'-vibrations, were spoken in a Cincinnati recording studio a decade ago. An artist still at the starting line, proclaiming his devoted manifest as guest on an independently produced album in a place with little pages in the hip-hop history book: Cincinnati. Talib's star, one of underground's present champions, shot up like a rocket. He had huge successes with Mos Def, and now is one of the few lyricists able to reach both mainstream and underground audiences. The foundation of his career was built on "Doom."

Mood producer Jahson has been struggling to cash in on the underground classic he was largely responsible for. The group fell apart after they failed to get a major distribution contract for their debut album. Jahson wasn't spiteful and decided to play in his own ball park. He treated the major music business like the DEVIL NEVER EVEN LIVED and established his own recording company. Mission Control Records handles its own vinyl pressings and artist representation. In 2003, his debut "The Resistance" was aired. It never got the desired attention, and was only sold on a local LEVEL. His most well-known achievement of late is production on the ominous "Celestial," a song appearing on Mr. Nogatco's (Kool Keith) "Nogatco Rd." Jahson hasn't managed to put Cincinnati on the map. It is rumoured he wants to change that by bringing out a second version of "Doom."

"In this business you slave
Give all that you gave
By the time I get on
I already had it made
I'm in it for the love
Tell my love to get paid
But my love will be my heart
From the fetus to the grave
Politics can't evade
Silly tricks can't persuade
Eating dicks in a lobby
because they don't have a trade"

(Donte on "Industry Lies")

After "Doom," Donte made the occasional blip on the hip-hop RADAR. He did guest shot after guest shot, like a thirsty traveler in the desert going from oasis to oasis. His zealous tone-of-voice was heard mostly on songs put out by the prophets of the old days, like Main Flow and Talib Kweli. He recently proclaimed his wandering days to be over. Donte's mix CD "Crimeseen" should be in stores very soon. Will the audience be in a better mood?

Home of jazz fests and blown spots
Bear cats and mingles
No culture, no hip-hop
Black business stopped
By cops who roam blocks
Niggas scared to pop
This shit's got to stop
The universal man, I caravan through lands of hate
Respected from the sands of Cali to the streets of New York State
From the home of funk, shit, you thought it was dead
We brought it back like resurrection, giving life to these heads
In the middle of the riddles, many styles from my locals
Collecting data from the greater to create the bi-coastal"

(Main Flow on "Cincinnati")

Mood's failed exposure made Main Flow motivated to make his own mark in music. In ten years, he put out seven albums and did tons of guest appearances to gain maximum exposure. It gave him the status of one of underground's most dedicated backbenchers, but it didn't get him in the major league in spite of his apparent quality. Main Flow is big in Germany, but in his home-town, they only remember him by "Doom."

Since Mood, Hi-Tek has become one of the more sought after producers in the hip-hop industry. In the birth years of this millennium and the dying hours of the previous one, the Cincy resident was an indie beat bomber, providing Rawkus with a fair share of its status as one of the most successful contemporary underground rap labels. After his successful debut "Hi-Teknology," which featured his own personal favourite MC's, everybody wanted a piece of his mind, leading him to work with Morcheeba, G-Unit, and Snoop Doggy Dogg. The follow-up to his debut,"Hi-Teknology 2," is the epiphany of his garnered status as beat prophet. Hi-Tek has grown, but his home congregation doesn't value his evolution. To him, Cincinnati can go to "Doom."

"My family's torn
I'm the third eye of this hip-hop storm
In my energy field, phony men will be killed
Some files are top secret, with the government sealed
Now they on us, because they want us to be goners
This is the time, who is the warning?
We've been preparing; Hi-Tek's in the van
And rampage is staring; let's make this jam
Doom backwards changes moods on the land"

(Talib Kweli on "Nuclear Hip-Hop")

Is preventing your music from going to "DOOM" an evil deed? Liven a "MOOD" of a stagnating musical genre is perhaps a futile attempt. Mood will say: "NO, IT IS OPPOSITION from the recording industry." Maybe so. Or maybe it is disinterest from a crowd that should have paid more attention to this timeless record. "Doom" still manages to capture mind and mentality of hip-hop culture in 2007.

Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10

Originally posted: April 17, 2007