This takes me back. Remember when you had bands like Credit To The Nation forging their music by crossing into, what was back in their nineties formative years, enemy territory and liberally sampling its classic sound to build a new style of hip-hop. Remember when you had bands like Disposable heroes of Hiphopricy blurring the line between rap and spoken word, exploring the big, wide world yet still talking about the street and the lives of those on it. Well, in many ways Cult Cannon is the descendent of those genre-hopping, musical exploratory, gene splicing bands.
He takes the instantly recognisable beat of Queen’s We Will Rock You, ironically probably the most middle class, conservative and safe band to have existed, the most finite epitome of “white boys with guitars” there has ever been, and subverts it into an edgier, street level rap-rant. Where as before it was a stadium anthem of near meaningless proportions, it now becomes the basis of something much more poignant. It takes swipes at Hollywood and those celebrities who have fallen from grace, name checks porn stars and blends ideas and attitudes which confuse and collide but always keep you thinking.
But whilst it plunders the past to create its core sound, it also reminds us of one path that hip-hop took before it largely settle down to a life of cash, celebrity and formulaic complacency. Just Drums & I is also a call to arms for the future. Time to break the mould, return to the fundamentals, the beat and the lyrical flow, of having something to say and of having that message relatable and though provoking. And that is exactly what is going on here.
The clever thing about what Cult Cannon does with this song is that he wilfully and with grooviness aforethought crosses boundaries. He combines the familiarity of a rock classic with the flow of his cutting edge rhymes, he brings the past and uses it to drive music into the future, he takes stadium bombast and uses it to drive an underground vibe, he takes a swipe at global events from the street corner. The best music occurs when worlds collide, not when it is forced and over thought, planned to meet market requirements or ticks enough commercial boxes but when it comes together naturally. Just Drums & I is as natural as a walk in the park. At night. In the wrong part of town.
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