Of all genres of music, Hip-Hop has always been the most introspective and honest. When rappers were broke and had to sell drugs to get by, there was no mincing of words from the likes of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac. When the money started to come in, Hip-Hop went through a state of celebration – songs began to focus on how much wealth one had and how grateful they were to be off of the street. When Biggie rapped that he was livin’ “in mansions, and Benzes, giving ends to my friends and it feels stupendous”, he wasn’t lying, because you felt it and you were happy for him.
Then everybody started to make money. Then rappers figured out that they could make money by being lazy. Then came the club bangers. Then came fucking Autotune. Besides a few notable exceptions, mainstream Hip-Hop is in need of some serious creative help. Not by winding the clock all the way back to the days of turntables, of course, but a return to the fundamentals of rhyming relevant, sometimes scary, sometimes funny, sometimes insightful lyrics over solid beats is certainly in order.
Thank God for the internet, because it allows underground emcees like Pause Flights, that are trying to give Hip-Hop some much needed mouth-to-mouth a place to be recognized. Go to myspace.com/pauseflights to hear the real deal. There isn’t one Stanky Leg, Superman or any other stupid dance song. Just some solid beats, a good flow and a nice groove. Hip-hop.
Put on “Extremes” and vibe to a solid raspy flow with a beat that will have you nodding your head and leaving the stress of work miles behind you. Pause would approve because like he rhymes on “Believe”, he works too: “After long days of work / I make with the missus”. He raps over a beat that sounds like the missing track to The Black Album. Or just play “Put Aside Norms” and listen to Pause (who is, as he says at the beginning of “Believe”, damn near 40) school us young boys on the state of Hip-Hop: “Positive niggaz will drop an album and niggaz won’t copy”. Don’t think that he’s judging; with rhymes like this excerpt from “Escape From The Slums”: “I know out of every ten niggaz / only one is gonna ride / only one is gonna be there with guns by my side”.
Don’t stop at the free songs either – many of the pay-to-play songs are worth the money for the listen. Pick up “Fall Back” and listen to an endless array of one-line gems such as “rigorous rigor throw swagger like liquor”. If you want proof that Pause Flights has a soft side, pick up “Fall Flower (my apology)” to hear his version of “Song Cry” that starts with “it was a snow storm when I met you” and ends with never getting that moment in the snow back, no matter the season.
There are some tracks that are misses. “Weighted Words” starts with a promising beat that Pause proceeds to ruin by talking for the first 36 seconds of a 1:36 second song. The talking would be forgivable if the rhymes made up for it, which, frankly, they do not. The other miss is an instrumental erroneously titled “Sick Gem”, which may someday serve as the basis to a tight track, but, without any rhymes, it’s repetitive and overly simple nature make it an unenjoyable listen.
That being said, it must also be said that these two tracks are the exception, not the rule in this very versatile and enjoyable collection from one of the underground’s most promising emcees. Pause Flights offers us a time machine back to a time when there was thought put into lyrics, care put into production and respect for the listener. You can put these songs on in your car, in your room or at a party and just drift to that simpler place in the back of all of our minds where time stops – where the people are cool, the beer is cold and the club is hot with energy. You don’t have to cast a spell. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You don’t even have to break out your pair of Kangaroos. You just have to push Pause.