Various Artists - SomeOthaShip: Connect 2011
Formed by Georgia Anne Muldrow and Declaime in 2008, SomeOthaShip is a home for their own work as well as other artists involved in hip hop and beyond. This label compilation shines a light on some of the most creative music happening on the West Coast, led by one of hip hop’s most dynamic couples.
The opening track, "Ceilings," by Stephan Muldrow (Georgia's brother) is a beautiful, slowly developing instrumental piano piece, letting the listener know that while hip hop is at the heart of SomeOthaShip, their musical vision is not married to genre. Miki Vale comes on the second track, "Bending," to provide the psychedelic funky hip hop that fans of SomeOthaShip or Georgia Anne Muldrow and Declaime have come to expect, with Muldrow singing the hook. Riff Raff McGriff’s “Tell Em” might be the highlight. It’s a cutting and timely song that declares, “The world’s goin’ broke is what they’re schoolin’ me/ I’ve been broke my whole life - it’s nothing’ new to me.” I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on him. Kadence and DJ G also provide some great political hip hop with “Hypocrisy” and “Mr. Black President,” respectively. Declaime drops a great song in “Illicit fOnk” that features Prince Po, once again leading me to ask, “When do we get another Prince Po solo album?” Stan Sly drops a groove that’s straight off George Clinton’s Mothership. Shana Jenson Muldrow (Stephan's wife) switches things up with a great gospel/reggae groove in “Just For You,” displaying a strong and beautiful singing voice. Oji Ascension Team’s “Goddess Hear” is possibly the weirdest track on the compilation with a great simple bass line in the forefront and eerie Theremin and keyboards in the background as lyrics are spoken/rapped.
With any compilation, especially one that’s twenty one tracks long, there is some fat to trim. Ms. Dezy’s “HipHopForRealTalk” is a simple old school beat with turntable scratches, but the rhymes aren’t strong enough to be memorable. X Riley Fresh’s “Fresh” has a decent groove, but the Auto-tuned vocals and uncreative lyrics don’t do it any favors. “G.R.O.O.V.E. Me” by The Blackhouse is out of place as a house track. Darryl Moore has a good voice, and lays out a decent soul song, but the lyrics are so trite (think City High) that I could never get into the song. Finally, “Ezzie Jean (RIP MJ)” is a lacking tribute to the king of pop, with Auto-tuned vocals, lyrics that don't provide any insight into his legacy, and a heavy reliance on the bass line to “Billie Jean.”
With all the lesser moments documented, the high points on this compilation more than outshine the low points. SomeOthaShip proves itself to be a place for artists to experiment with hip hop, funk, gospel, and beyond. Connect 2011 is just the latest affirmation that Georgia Anne Muldrow and Declaime have claimed their own space in hip hop, and if you’re not paying attention, you’re missing out.