“ Genre: Hip Hop & Rap / Artist: Lowkey / Label: Mesopotamia Music / Released: 2011 „
I have already reviewed Lowkey first album 'Dear Listener.' For those that havent read it , Lowkey (born Kareem Dennis) is a rapper/hip hop artist who was born in London to an Iraqi mother and English father in 1986. As well as being a musician and poet, he is also a playwright and political activist.This is his second studio album which was released just last week. He releases his music from his own independent record label, Mesopotamia Music. It is currently only available online via mp3 download from Amazon and iTunes. The price on Amazon currently is £6.99. The genre of music is hip hop and rap. His music is not in the mainstream but has been quite successful through online sources such as iTunes and Amazon. The album entered in the iTunes Hip Hop chart at #1 and at #7 in the iTunes Album Chart. It entered at #2 in the Amazon.com MP3 bestsellers list. His music is more socially conscious, political and is quite topical in comparison to a lot of modern hip hop which tends to shy away from this.
1.Soundtrack To The Struggle (produced by Nutty P)
2. Too Much ft Shadia Mansour (produced by Nutty P)
3. Voices Of The Voiceless ft Immortal Technique (produced by Sivey)
4. Hand On Your Gun (produced by ShowNProve)
5. Skit 1
6. Terrorist? (produced by Red Skull)
7. Something Wonderful (produced by Red Skull)
8. Dreamers ft Mai Khalil
9. Skit 2
10. Obama Nation (produced by Red Skull)
11. Skit 3
12. Cradle Of Civilisation ft Mai Khalil (produced by Quincey Tones)
13. Skit 4
14. Blood, Sweat and Tears ft Klashnekoff (produced Nutty P)
15. Everything I Am (produced by ShowNProve)
16. Skit 5
17. Long Live Palestine (produced by Nutty P)
18. We Will Rise ft Sanasino (produced by Big G)
19. My Soul (produced by Vendetta)
20. Skit 6
21. The Butterfly Effect (produced by BeatNick & K-Salaam)
22. Obama Nation Part 2 ft M1 (DEAD PREZ), Black The Ripper (produced by Nutty P)
23. Dear England ft Mai Khalil (produced by BeatNick & K-Salaam)
24. Haunted ft Mai Khalil (produced by JetSun)
25. Terrorist? Part 2 ft Crazy Haze & Mai Khalil (produced by Last Resort)
26. Million Man March ft Mai Khalil (produced by Big G)
Soundtrack to the struggle has 26 tracks in total which is quite a lot for a single album but it does feature 6 skits or short snippets which are usually quite topical quotes and insights into political issues. They also show the things that you do not see such as American troops being ashamed of going to war in Iraq and other problems with the political systems around the world especially America.
The first track is the album title track 'Soundtrack to the Struggle'. He announces how the album has been 'a long time coming' and has been '25 years in the making.' 25 years is his age so is implying that this is a product that has been in the making up to now in his life. This track is a good introduction to the album and he announces himself and what his music is about. The next track (too much) features a singer called Shadia Mansour and in this he is talking about the concept of money ( "money can buy power but it can't buy respect , ..money can buy a house but it can't buy a home. . He also asks "Do you posses money or by money are you possessed?"The lyrics work well with the vocals of Mansour to produce a decent track. The next track features another hip hop artist named Immortal Technique. Both these rappers are similar in what they choose to rap about and they both work well together to produce another top track. 'Voices of the voiceless' is about those who don't have their voices heard in various countries in war zones and other places. "You can try to avoid us but it's pointless, you can never avoid the voices of the voiceless" he sings in this song. The next track is hand on your gun which is a pretty short track, just under 3 minutes long. The song is about weapons in general and their use in various places around the world. This song features a good beat and backing vocals for the chorus. 'Terrorist? ' is a track which tries to ask the question 'who is a terrorist?. This song has been quite popular online and has been around for a while. It has almost 2 million views on youtube currently which is not a lot in comparison to more mainstream music but is still a large number for non mainstream music. The song is quite controversial and the video was banned from MTV but they can't ban it from Youtube..
'Something wonderful' is about appreciating the women of the world and is a tribute to the women in his world such as his mother and grandma who was in Iraq. Dreamers is another heartfelt track about his brother and a girl who he knew that took her own life. Obama nation is another controversial track which has a video also. It has also got over 1.5 million views on Youtube.He states that the track is not an attack on the American people but is an attack on the system in which they live. He then raps over a beat explaining all of this. Cradle of civilisation is about his background and his iraqi side. He calls it his motherland as he is half Iraqi on his mothers side. The next two tracks are about him and how he has worked hard to get to where he has got. The next two tracks are about Palestine ('Long live Palestine' and 'we will rise'). We will rise also features some lyrics from the poet and writer Sanasino. 'My soul ' states that they can take your life but they can't take your soul. Another top track with a video which was shot in Cuba. The butterfly effect is another track with a catchy backing beat with lyrics from another singer named Adrian. This is about how small changes that you made before in your life has big effects and is about 'what would you change?'. The next track is Obama Nation part 2 and features a sample from the 'Words I never said ' track by Lupe Fiasco. Dear England? Is another topical track and tries to decipher some of the problems with the country and also tries to find meanings behind the recent riots. The next couple of tracks seem to be a bit of filler content but the last track is a another top one. This track is 'million man march.' It was actually written and released before the recent uprisings in the Middle East. "when I die a million more feet will stamp the pavement." Mai Khallil is an artist that features quite a few times on his songs and she does another good job with her vocals on this track.
This album is topical and also controversial. A lot of modern music and hip hop especially is afraid of being controversial and topical and instead goes towards talking about bling, cars and women which seems easier to do. This is a reminder of what hip hop really is and should be like. Some have described his music as being too preachy and essay-like but "Soundtrack To The Struggle" is not like this at all. This is a top album and is worthy of 5 stars. It may not be for everyone but is highly recommended for fans of hip hop especially.