Sometimes a return to fundamentals is all it takes to remind you of the beauty at the roots of something great. At the roots of hip-hop—now a global phenomenon that speaks words of hope and compassion to people in their own language—are guardians of its precious gem of simplicity. Shaheed and DJ Supreme are two such sages, reminding future generations that all you need to tell your story are your rhymes and a rhythm to run it through. The timeless duo from Birmingham, AL keeps it real, using hip-hop to spread wisdom through their multiple LPs and live performances alongside acts like Scarface, Jurassic 5, The Jungle Brothers, and more. Over the years, they’ve rep’d Alabama under the Communicating Vessels label while promoting community-based initiatives through their non-profit K.R.U. (Knowledge, Rhythm, and Understanding). Catch the next iteration of Shaheed’s smooth lyrics and DJ Supreme’s soulful production on their upcoming LP, The Art of Throwing Darts.
Light a candle, some incense, or maybe just a sacred blunt and turn up the volume on “Take It Back,” Shaheed and DJ Supreme’s homage to fifty years of hip-hop. The track kicks off with a bounce as background singers chant the song’s title over DJ Supreme’s classic boom-bap beats. The backing hammers on as Shaheed plunges in with his typical confident delivery. Through hard rhymes that roll off like butter, he tells the story of hip-hop, name-dropping the likes of Tupac and Wu-tang as he reminisces on the purity of the early days of the trade.
The companion video to “Take it Back” (shot and edited by Richard Giles) finds Shaheed and DJ Supreme in an appropriate temple to recite their rap incantations: Seasick Records in their hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. As the duo drops line after line and beat after beat of praise to the craft, we discover rap’s saintly fraternity plastered over the walls of the humble record shop. The K.R.U. crew ravenously digs through the stacks of vinyl with the focus and ebullience of newcomers, displaying that the game’s founding fathers will never fail to provide an endless stream of wisdom and inspiration. You’re never too experienced to “Take it Back” and appreciate what got you where you are.
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