STRAIGHT OUTTA AOTEAROA

Scribe: Theme From The Crusader & Stand Up
From The Crusader (Dirty, 2003)

Professor April Henderson, who teaches in Aotearoa/New Zealand, put me up on Scribe, a Samoan/Chinese MC living out in Aotearoa. He’s the hottest MC out there right now, not simply sounding like Jay-Z but standing on top of the local rap scene like Hova too. What’s interesting about both these songs is that after years of finding int’l hip-hop (i.e. anything outside the parochialism of American hip-hop) to be subpar, it’s pretty damn that at this point, folks outside of the U.S. can easily hang with many of the Yankee rappers out there.

To be sure, Scribe really does owe Jay-Z some royalty points for how blatantly his style borrows from Jay’s…their voices aren’t that similar but on the album, he uses very similar phrases, from a simple, “yep” to proclaiming, “we made it” just like J does. That said, Scribe’s flow is mostly his own and he pops nicely in the pocket with his rhymes, rhyming sans-accent and if you told me dude was out of L.A. or N.Y. I certainly would have believed you without question.

Both songs I choose here are Aotearoan anthems that big up the home country as much as Scribe himself. Of the two, DJ P-Money’s beats for “Theme From the Crusader,” is superior, though both of them seem to borrow a page from Just Blaze’s playbook (see a trend here?). “Stand Up” is a decent club cut – I don’t know if it’ll have fools in the States raising the roof but I suspect that if you dropped this in some grimy Auckland club, shit would be set off like a dropped bottle of nitro.

What say ya’ll?

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