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Monday, Sep 24 2001 | 17:09
The Unspoken Heard are one of today's best kept secrets since Diamond D. Asheru and Blue Black are doing their thing since '96. But "their thing" is far from being the "normal" hip-hop thing; even for a so called independent group the sound and vision of The Unspoken Heard is simply outstanding.

It took them nearly five years to finish their debut album "Soon Come". The name may sound reggae but the story behind it is a whole different one.
"Basically "Soon Come" is dealing with the process and the road we took going from where we started to putting out this full length now.", Asheru explained in an in depth interview with, "The album deals with more emotions and moods than anything... It's showing our personalities, viewpoints, and our world outlook, illustrating how we view our surroundings."

What sounds a bit abstract in pixeled words, makes fully sense when you listen to the record. Incorporating the talents of J.Rawls, 88 Keys, Ge-ology, Richy Pitch, Yusef Dinero, Sound Providers, Djinji Brown, DJ Khalil (of Self Scientific) and Lone Catalysts "Soon Come" is one of the most beautifully crafted pieces of hip-hop I have encountered this year. Jazzed out with an easy listening sound (minus all the bad connotations this pseudo genre normally evokes) but also deep and soulful The Unspoken Heard have the rare talent to uplift and entertain the listener at the same time. Conscious hip hop you can play at barbeques and candle-light dinners. Or as the "self employed b-boys" state in the current 12" from the album: "Elevator music for the up and coming ... something both you and your kids can enjoy".

Even though the two MCs were raised in different parts of the USA (Asheru is from Maryland, Blue back is from the Bronx) and still not live on the same block, they are clicking non-stop whenever the mics are open. With a strong independent organisation as label and backbone (7 Heads, baby !) Asheru even manages to emcee and teach. Not like KRS-One but like J-Live at real schools with real pupils.

"Sometimes, I choose not to tell my kids until later on in the school year after they get to know me. I don't just go in there and start rhyming because the message might get lost." he says about his other job, " There are always tactics you can use in the classroom. Sometimes I end up running my class like a show. Kids get their arms in the air and call and respond. I just try to employ all of those different tactics to teach them. I teach 1st grade, so if I'm asking a math problem I get them charged up enough to throw their hands up and compete. They have to write little affirmations for themselves that they memorize and repeat. I just incorporate it subtly. I also have another program that I developed. It's a cultural arts exposure program where I go around to different schools and do workshops. "

Where indie-kids all over the world try hard to keep their backpacks and the web clear of anything that smells bling-bling, Asheru knows better than most hip-hop experts how the little ones tick: " They don't know nothing. Snoop is the godfather of hiphop to them. They look at Snoop like he is their uncle. They look at Snoop like we look at KRS. They know cats like Mos Def, but they love Lil Bow Wow. Bow Wow is the man in my class, but oddly enough they like Jill Scott. When I taught middle school the kids heard the instrumentals to the song "Ain't No Woman" and they was like that's Jaÿ Z! The other teacher heard them and was like that's EPMD. He said ya'll don't know nothing about that. He told them 'I miss EPMD but you missed EPMD'. To them anything that comes out of mouths of people like Lil Kim is golden. Sometimes just for kicks I'll be like 'y'all never heard of Stetsasonic? UMC's?' It's so funny to me because they never heard of these people and think they know music. That's why I started that program because I have to show them what they missed. You gotta get the whole story you can't come in on part 3."

A grassroots activist and artist by heart Asheru also believes in direct action when it comes to The Unspoken Heard and the "Soon Come" album. "My ultimate wish is for people to hear it and spread the word for others to pick it up. I noticed when Jill Scott's album dropped she didn't get a lot of publicity, but her shit spread like wildfire. She was just on everybody's lips and that's how I want it to go. It will be on a smaller level because we are independent, but in those circles I want it to have a good reputation. I think people will enjoy it for how musical it is and will be able to relate to it. I want people to feel it's a good solid product."

Words: Oliver/Olski von Felbert
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