Smashing through the glitz and grime of a music industry where so many MC's are ultra commercial and jiggy, thugged-out, or so far out the masses can't understand them, West Philadelphia's Baby Blak (BBK) steps to the plate, mic drawn, lyrics poised. Those that longingly remember the days of Rakim and KRS-One have anxiously awaited an MC that could speak to the nation's streets and, at the same time, a hip hop culture that spans the globe. With overflowing confidence and a spit-game rivaling none, Baby Blak is set to release his solo debut, Once You Go Blak on BBE/Millennia Music. Having honed his chops on stages from Tokyo to Malibu to Paris and back to the gritty streets of Philly, BBK's garnered a die-hard worldwide fan-base. Refusing to be categorized as a member of the slumber-underground, Blak insists on defining his music with a rare authenticity and balance while teaching complacent MC's what the future of the funk is all about.See Also:
Alongside partner Mr. Lish, Baby Blak launched his career as one-half of the prominent Philly crew, ILL Advised. In the mid-to-late 90's, the duo released several history making twelve inches as the ILL Advised buzz grew louder. Chairman Mao took careful notice in the pages of VIBE while BLAZE named the duo "Next To Blow" in a special section dedicated to Philly's thriving music scene. With the Alchemist-produced High & Mighty track, "Open Mic Night" Blak's distinctly buttery smooth vocals hit the college radio circuit hard and heavy. Shortly after, on the Philly anthem "22.214.171.124." the world was introduced to the undeniable chemistry between Baby Blak and The Wake Up Show's DJ Revolution. Following up with the "126.96.36.199. Remix" featuring Philly brethren, Black Thought and Malik B. (The Roots), Blak's collab'n career was in full throttle.
Kicking off 2002, Blak blazed the airwaves with the number one college radio hit, "Blak Iz Back." And the rest of year? The extensive list of hot collaborations came full circle with "Stand Clear" on DJ Babu's Duck Down, "Dangerzone" with DJ Sat-One, "Soldierz" with Grand Agent and four head-noddin' tracks on DJ Jazzy Jeff's BBE Beat Generation album, The Magnificent. With The Magnificent's "For Da Love of Da Game," "Da Ntro," "Worldwide" and "Travelz" Blak solidified his status as the next great lyrical talent out of The City of Brotherly Love. Rep'n the "Home of the DJ" to the fullest, BBK toured the West Coast with Jazzy Jeff and stormed the club circuit on a sold-out Japanese stint with DJ Revolution and ILL Advised cohort, Mr. Lish.
With Planet Asia, Obie Trice, Last Emperor and Mr. Lish on board for the assist, Once You Go Blak explores everything from street sagas to poverty, fatherhood, women and betrayal with top shelf production by DJ Revolution, Evidence (Dilated Peoples), Newcleus, Joey Chavez and local beatmakers Jay-Ski, Sat-One and the A Touch of Jazz powerhouse. On the first single, "No Coast All Stars," Blak teams up with Detroit's Obie Trice and Cali's Planet Asia for an ode to a "no coast" world. The results? An East coast, Midwest and Westside verbal smackdown. On "Die Man (Diamonds)," Baby Blak takes listeners on a trip to the violent diamond mines of South Africa and shuns hip hop's most prized possession: "You wear the blood of your people on your neck and your wrist/I said the blood of your people/Ain't no love for your people/South African government put slugs in my people so ya platinum chain can have a stud you can see through." And then there's "Economix (The Buildings Fell)," one of the first truthfully and artfully done musical treatments surrounding the tragedies of September 11th. Once You Go Blak simply stands tall, in a class of it's own.
With a vocabulary rivaling Webster's and a freestyling tongue fit for battle, Baby Blak, spits with a humble arrogance, stealthily traveling in a gray area. Speaking a hip hop language that's far from jiggy yet refuses to be pigeonholed as the lyricism of the back pack set; it's Blak's middle ground, a place where confidence, the hustle, politrix and independence reign. With vivid storytelling ability, witty wordplay and highly complex rhyme patterns on full display from start to finish, Once You Go Blak sets a new standard. The wait is over; hip hop's renaissance is now, because like they say, Once You Go Blak…you never go back.
MTS Centre, Winnipeg - May 26, 2008
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