I’m going Old School again, with another rap album from back in the day that, for whatever reason, didn’t get the hype it deserved. Notes of A Native son is the debut album from a rapper who called himself Laquan (real name Kenneth Green), released in 1990 on Island Records. Like Raheem, Laquan was just a teenager when he recorded this, like 16 or 17. But his lyrical content showed an intelligence that was far beyond his years. The album is produced by the duo known as Wolf & Epic, who helped craft hits for Bell Biv Devoe and others in the early 90’s. Their particular style included using live instruments, along with turntable scratches. So this album was an interesting combination of Laquan’s Pro-Black socially conscious rhymes being recited over New Jack Swing beats that you could dance to.
1/NOTES OF A NATIVE SON
Frozen and freeze dried, the poems are like pitfalls/This Black man will stand tall, I’m firm as a brickwall
A good opener to the album, with Laquan boasting over a midtemp drumbeat.
2/BROTHER TO BROTHER
The beat and temp pick up for this track, with some strong rhymes to reach out to his community.
A weak mind is brainwashed easily/I’m not blind, I see what you’re feedin’ me
History, you got it twisted/Your leaders are written, mine are unlisted
I praise God and no other/Words from me to you, brother to brother
3/NOW’S THE B TURN
The first single. With New Edition’s Ricky Bell singing on the chorus. This song is incredible.
Still hold up, without feeling dated, almost 24 years later…
4/TEAR YOUR SOUL OUT
Mouth is swollen, I’m puttin my soul in/Giving you black on wax I can’t hold in
Another great uptempo dance track with dope rhymes.
5/LET THE VIBES FLOW
A powerful drumbeat, slows down a bit, while Laquan continues to drop knowledge.
Too much TV, you’re brainwashed by Hollywood/I speak truth, so let it be understood
My weapon’s my pencil, a poet’s utensil/And when it’s empty I fall back and reload, Let it build up and let it explode
Braggadocio rhymes over another mellow beat.
7/SWING BLUE, SWEAT BLACK
This was the 2nd (& last) single from the album. Great follow-up to Now’s The B Turn.
8/WITNESS THE DRIFT
Flow on my boat of festivity, ignore negativity/And sail with me in my lyrical treasure, If it’s projected correctly music is pleasure
9/IMPRISON THE PRESIDENT
Laquan gets directly political on this powerful track.
They had to use, abuse, a low blow/1990 and still flying Jim Crow/Using Willie Horton for the fight/Frighten whites on election night/A thousand points of light, right? The glare is bright and there’s still no sight
A fast track, primarily braggadocio lyrics, but Laquan still slips in some social consciousness.
Yo, I’ma feed this cause many need this/Black lyrical episode Let knowledge unfold, guide the lost souls/Down a new road to a better life, it seems you haven’t been livin right
Make my approach with a kiss on her throat/I’m whispering love notes and brother, I hope/That I can convince her cause I wanna stick her/Thin and petite, I prefer to have her thicker
This song doesn’t really fit the tone of the rest of the album. I suppose after an album full of uplifting lyrics, Laquan (who, remember, was just a teenager at the time), could be excused for indulging himself just once, with this song about sex and women. He’s joined by a rapper named Craig Parker on this track, but I couldn’t find out anything about him.
Those are all the original songs on this album, and together I consider this album worthy of a full FIVE STARS It’s such a damn shame that this wasn’t a greater success, but it probably came just a couple of years too late. 1990 is right when gangsta rap was starting to emerge and would soon dominate the rap scene. 5 years later I saw that Laquan had re-emerged with a new album, now rapping under the name Poppa LQ, and adopting a more gangsta image. I didn’t follow his music after that, and don’t know what he’s up to these days.
Buy NOTES OF A NATIVE SON on ITUNES.COM