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The Cornel West Theory doesn’t care about your delicate little feelings. The group doesn’t pop molly, pop bottles, or make candy-ass pop music. It doesn’t even fully register as rap. Instead, it’s something else: rooted in hip-hop and cloaked in dark, edgy riffs and politically charged content. Its stage show is abrasive and in-your-face. Humility be damned.
On Saturday, the Cornel West Theory released The Radio FREE DC Tapes, a free album of unreleased B-sides and instrumentals it recorded in 2005 and 2006. The album doesn’t take long to strike your heart; the beat on opening song, “Radio FREE DC,” is amazingly hypnotic, and the lyrics are intricate: “It only takes 15 seconds for God to shake the Earth with the truth that hurts/Dog … put ya bone in the dirt, this is second to the second, each minute is worth.”
“Musical Authority” uses a straightforward Marvin Gaye loop to conjure a wistful image of summertime D.C. “The Guy” is equally nostalgic, yet it recalls hip-hop yesteryear with an accelerated vocal loop and evocative drums
If you need me, I’ll be playing this album all day. Stream it in full below.