A couple days ago, I was on Twitter discussing possible album of the year candidates with a couple of my homies, with the argument largely surrounding Kendrick Lamar’s Section.80 and Big K.R.I.T.’s Return Of 4Eva. WTT and Skyzoo’s The Great Debater are others to consider, as well, but of course, we can’t come to a definitive answer before Common, The Roots and Rick Ross offer their statements before the end of the year.
Another project (two of them, actually) must be thrown into the fray, however. It’s this audio dope, Cocaine 80s shit. Damn, this is some crack (pun intended)! And it’s being severely slept-on by many, myself included (until this week, that is).
First surfacing on June 21, 2011, with The Pursuit EP, little is known about what the hell, or who the hell, Cocaine 80s actually is. The surrounding mystery is both a gift and a curse, as it’s given the collective an enticing aura. At the same time, the ambiguity has likely kept many from fully latching on, as well.
It was initially introduced to me as a Common x No I.D. project. Upon first listen, that’s not what it was, though Common was featured on one song. Entering with that Com Sense mindset, I ran through The Pursuit one time and put it down. Earlier this week, however, Cocaine 80s was back at it, releasing another EP, Ghost Lady, and it was again a Common feature that led me to sample the product. This time I paid attention.
Since then, I’ve been listening to both Cocaine 80s tapes almost non-stop for the past 24 hours. I can’t put it down.
I’m hooked and a fiend, to say the least. Why? Well, picture top-notch vocals and lyrics laid over those No I.D. guitars and drums we’ve come to know and love (especially in recent years. Think D.O.A., Gorgeous, Memories Pt. II, Blue Sky, etc.). The result is a flawless mix of pop, rock and hip-hop, featuring great instrumentation and superb songwriting as some of the best in the business link up and create, seemingly For The Greater Good. It’s free, and the anonymity is by design, with the focus lying solely on the music.
Beyond Common and No I.D., the other names in the Cocaine 80s collective may not strike a chord to the untrained eye. But that doesn’t mean they’re not significant.
(This should, in part, help one understand what exactly is going on here.)
There’s guitarist Steve Wyreman, who’s spent much time playing alongside Jesse Boykins III; Roc Nation engineer Rob Kinelski, who’s worked on several Beyonce records and Teflon Don, among others; Roc Nation singer-songwriter James Fauntleroy (“No Air”, “Take You Down”); Roc Nation singer-songwriter Makeda Riddick (“Upgrade U,” “Live Your Life,” “Love The Way You Lie”); and composer, keyboardist, pianist, etc., Kevin Randolph (What We Talkin’ Bout — if you know that song, and you know the keyboards and synths, then you know why it’s the only one I’ve even bothered listing for this cat).
And we (or I) still don’t know who does what when it comes to Cocaine 80s. I’m honestly not even sure which one of them is singing. What’s more important, however, is that it doesn’t matter. Every track I’ve heard thus far is excellent.
So with all this being said, get high off this Cocaine 80s, if you’re not doing so already.