Growing up in central Wisconsin, I have seen and heard my fair share of local attempts at hip-hop. For the most part the attempts at the genre of hip-hop fall short. If I can be brutally honest, most local attempts at hip-hop in central Wisconsin are down right embarrassing and I literally cringe with how uncomfortable I get with the idea of it. That being said I’m always prepared for surprises and I am utterly bewildered with Milwaukee native and UWSP student Emmitt James and his upcoming EP, Until I’m A Dead Poet.
Renowned around Wisconsin as a spoken word poet James is a quiet young man that looks as though he walked right out of an H&M catalog. If you are a frequent visitor of the Dreyfus University Center’s Basement Brewhaus, you probably know exactly whom I am speaking of. Despite his love for the spoken word, James is taking his skills and meshing them superbly with the music that is hip-hop.
With beats that echo a soulful past of the groovy 1970s the sound album immediately grabbed my attention. Soul and R&B of the 70s have always been a guilty pleasure of mine.
Lyrically speaking Until I’m A Dead Poet is humbly confident and exceedingly conceptual. The piece as a whole embraces the struggles of growing up, chasing dreams, family, faith and even immigration issues.
To emphasize I would like to bring attention to the song entitled “Little Things,” where James analyzes the importance making his passion for music a career not only for himself but for his family as well.
In “The Desire,” James confidently explores the challenges within chasing one’s dreams. Overall the song is delightfully inspiring.
I can boldly say that Until I’m A Dead Poet, in completion is the premier hip-hop release in the state of Wisconsin for the year 2012. In the words of the legendary poet Gil Scott- Heron this album is “deep.” The EP officially releases Dec. 15 and on Dec. 14 James will be kicking off the EP by performing in the Liard room of the DUC at 4 p.m.