At the end of the day heads want to hear banging beats and dope flows. Some care about content more than others. When you get all three you can’t help but smile. DaVinci is the latest emcee from the bay to attempt to break out the confines of his city and he carries himself with confidence and spits with ease, skills that won’t be taken lightly as his name begins to ring out in other parts of the country.
His project The Day The Turf Stood Still is a pretty dope collection of cuts that have very little in common with much of the output his peers deliver on a regular basis. The first thing to stand out are the thumping beats, far more boom bap than west coast cruising style. This is ok though as DaVinci has a message heavy enough for the deepest of drums. Hit him with your best.
He doesn’t rap fast, he stays in the cut and let’s his thoughts develop. His bars are deeper than they might at first sound, but listen close and his clear pronunciation will have you rewinding for days. He discusses the street life, nothing new to hiphop. Sometimes he does it with a hint of regret other times it’s more a sense of lessons learned from experience.
2010 saw a rise in what I viewed as intelligent gangsters. A number of emcees made a name for themselves walking the line between telling ignorant street tales about exploits and crimes commited in exchange for the demonstration of compelling feeling about the negatives to these actions.
DaVinci addresses gentrification in a manner I’m sure my college professors wouldn’t approve but will probably teach more than a few people how the concept affected them directly. “What You Finna Do” has DaVinci rapping in almost a whisper about D-Boys loosing work as a different class moves into the neighborhoods accustomed to serving. His observations are with merit and have to prompt questions.
He injects slivers of his life in all his tracks, “All I Have” shows him spend three minutes discussing the struggle of acquiring any kind of wealth. Expressing the pain of empty pockets is an expertly chopped sample shouting “All I have in my pocket.” Money is a reoccurring theme, lending credence to the notion it does make the world go round. “Ben” is an awesome song about the journey a dollar can take and what people will do to get it, how fast they can blow it.
At some point in time “gangsta” rap lost any significance and became a blanket term for rap tunes that had no conscious, no accountability, no knowledge. While you can still find more than enough of that, the introduction of artists who want to be gangsters to the system once again is a great addition to the landscape of hiphop in 2011. DaVinci is helping pave that path.