Artist: Gabriel Teodros
Label: Massline Media
Review Date: 2/26/07
Purchase: Lovework available at AMAZON.COM
Reviewed by: Jieshrae Washington
Seattle has generally been under-appreciated but respected by the underground Hip-Hop world. Cultivated in Seattle’s underground, Gabriel Teodros releases his long awaited album, “Lovework”, released February 24th on Massline Media. The follow up to the 2001 lyrical masterpiece “Sun To A Recycled Soul”. His unique voice, political views, positive message and insightful lyrics are unmatched by anyone to date. It features artists such as Khings Makoma, Toni Hill, Jerm the Hooligan, Moka Only, and Rajinii Eddins to name a few. Coupling unique beats with hard hitting rhymes “Lovework” is an experience both thought provoking as well as fun. The best songs from “Lovework” leave you wide open and anticipating the next gem. “..they don’t know me they just love what’s in their speakers, why we scared of women that could be our teachers….it’s just the freak in me or is it self pity?” from the song ‘Sexcapism’, powerful and reflective messages such as this strive to bring the listener to a heightened state of conscientiousness. Each song embodys the album’s title “Lovework” as described by Teodros, “work is love made visible.” unifying Old Skool with New Skool and wrapping it all in a blanket of Soul and Funk “Lovework is the mutant offspring of Hip-Hop’s evolution
Soulfully dealing with heavy hitting issues such as sexism, racism, cultural identity, and empowerment; Teodros clearly put his heart and soul into this album. In the innovative song ‘Chili Sauce’ (produced by Specs One and Amos Miller), Teodros explores patriarchy in Hip-Hop. Maintaining the mood set by previous songs Chili Sauce playfully dismantles the status quo of male emcees, expressing “every song on the radio is patriarchal…videos show sex and not really much more…..Hip-Hop is macho-bravado-ego.” Delving deeper still Teodros states “I struggle for love while still learning what it’s all about. You struggle with men till you just about kicked them all out. I fight everyday just to tear walls down so together we fight to tear the shitstorm down.” Providing a refreshing spin on self-reflection and general disappointment with social norms.
In the innovative song Warriors (produced by Amos Miller featuring Dj Wd4d) Teodros destroys misconceptions of women’s role in both society and Hip-hop asserting, “don’t believe what they told you remember this…. women warriors under heard stories of mothers, sisters, and daughters who rip mics and spit to survive keeping Hip-hop alive. You hold the force to change the world when you rhyme.” Delivered with passion and the utmost sincerity he further states “I want to change what it means to be masculine and see Hip-Hop grow to raise strong women lil girls who rip mics with the best of them…” a brief but lasting glimpses into the psyche of a male feminist emcee are strewn throughout the entire album. Making it evident that Teodros values women and the role they play in Hip-Hop. Teodros’ growth as a person and an artist is apparent as “Lovework” proves to surpass “Sun to a Recycled Soul” in content and production.
The “Lovework” LP is filled with serious, reflective topics done in a style reminiscent of jazz and soul. ‘East Africa’ (produced by Amos Miller) is an adrenaline-filled anthem reflecting on Teodros’ country of origin, Ethiopia. Teodros explores his identity as well as the political state of ‘Africa’s East’ reflecting on the loss of his mother tongue “used to get clowned for speaking with an accent so when I went back home I only spoke English, got deep in my reading, watched too much TV and lost the language…..it sucks.” following this reflection Teodros goes deeper stating “you think I’m safe out here but I wish I was out there with you cuz I question what can one song really do….10,000 of youth locked 100’s have been shot….” Teodros delivers a tall cold glass of reality. The song captures the feeling of unrest for an entire nation and brings Ethiopia’s struggle just a little closer. ‘East Africa’, is not the only song that addresses Africa in a thought provoking manner. “In This Together”, discusses colonialism in Ethiopia, “..they say Ethiopia is not colonized, Jah Rastafar I praise what would they say if they had my eyes……” ‘Third World Wide’ takes a look at the need for unity between the oppressed people of the world, i.e. people of color. “Still living like the third world even in the first world” All three songs are dope and people will learn to fully appreciate them over time.
While the average CD consists of 30% filler, sometimes more, there is absolutely no filler on this album. The album flows effortlessly from song to song, each song leaving a lasting impression. Today Hip-Hop LP’s usually run 70 minutes and have up to 21 tracks. “Lovework” by Gabriel Teodros is a tight album with 16 solid tracks that are strong enough to stand alone. Diverse in both style and topic, this album is one to be played again and again. Paying homage to Hip-Hop’s roots as well as giving an insiders look in the future of Hip-Hop’s evolution the “Lovework” is truly a one of a kind masterpiece that will sooth and satisfy even the hungriest of Hip-Hop connoisseurs. Pioneering the way for future Emcees, “Lovework” is to become an instant underground classic!
Purchase: Lovework available at AMAZON.COM