We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
While it’s true that hiphop has always been and may always be about braggin’ and boastin’, there is evidence that it may be gradually evolving away from the literal, self-reflexive nature that has dominated the genre since its creation. Whereas artists in the past have tried to top each other with a slicker story or a more clever metaphor, whole albums are now being used to tell a story, as in the case of Organized Konfusion’s Equinox. Although not a rap album, King Britt’s When the Funk Hits the Fan is another step in that direction. The former DJ Silkworm of Digable Planets has put together some skits and recognizable ’70s loops, using Philly-area talent to tell the simple, optimistic, frequently anachronistic tale of a day in the life of a DJ in 1977. The disc is not exactly Oscar material, but there are some excellent roles for and credible performances by women. Poetess Ursula Rucker and divas Alison Crockette and Vicki Miles all take star turns in the second act. When the Funk, much like Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, is an idea whose time has come and may spawn a slew of more polished, more commercially successful imitations. Unfortunately, an underdeveloped plot and unconvincing dialogue cause this first “emotion picture soundtrack” to play like a student film, so it’s unlikely to do any better in the boom box than at the box office.Neil Drumming