Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
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.