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Thursday, Apr 22 2004 | 20:57

The Saint “Grown Folk Music” 2LP / CD (Uncle Junior Records/7Heads)

Street Date: July 13th, 2004

“I spent 400 bucks on this¦.just to be like ˜homie you aint up on this!'”. No one summed up the mentality of Hip Hop culture better than Kanye West. A culture born, not only out of introducing hot new things to your peeps, but getting props for being the first one to know about it. Here is your chance to get up on the next big thing in music, and once again Uncle Junior is bringing it to you. Grown Folk Music, producer/musician/MC The Saint’s debut album is a genre melting effort that brings you house and dance music through the ears of a true hip hop and soul aficionado. Naturally you get the hip hop influence that is felt on all Uncle Junior releases but, as with all of the Uncle’s records, the artist puts his own spin on it.

Anyone would be hard pressed to categorize this music but the good Uncle feels that “Soulful-House” best describes the feeling of this record, and nothing demonstrates it better than “Another Day” the lead off 12″. It reflects the travels and energy of the everyday grind that we all go through.

With influences like Masters At Work, Pete Rock, Stevie Wonder, Agent K and Jazzy Jeff, The Saint’s sound drips with buttery smooth instrumentation. The Saint resonates with those fans looking for something slightly funky yet out of the box. The haunting bongos and fluid keys take you from the break of dawn of a new day to the orange glow of dusk on these Brooklyn streets. And, as if that isn’t enough, the B side features his remix of Asheru and Blue Black’s single “Smiley”.

This is just the beginning so you can look forward putting your friends up on great music for years to come. The self produced debut showcase The Saint’s talents as he works with some the most respected names in Hip Hop, Soul and House. Showing his versatility The Saint plays the keys, MPC, ASR, guitar, bass guitar and percussion on virtually all the tracks.

Tracklisting:

01. Another Day
02. Kryptonite feat. Mr. Man of the Bush Babees
03. All Your Lovin’ feat. Reggie Watts of Maktub
04. Lift
05. Force of Nature feat. Vinia Mojica
06. Soul
07. Words of Life feat. Grap Luva
08. All You’ll Be feat Leron Thomas and Tiombe Lockhart
09. Original
10. Sunday After Hours
11. California “ Saint Remix
12. Postlude
13. Small Screen feat The Break Emperors

Treat yourself to the pleasure of listening to this record and find out for yourself getting lost in The Saint’s world of good vibes, great times, and excellent Music.

The Seven Heads sound has often been called adult contemporary rap (ouch! That just doesn’t sound right) as well as “throwback” (whatever that means, some Mitchell & Ness random reference). 7H Recordings and the newly formed Uncle Junior Records have always lacked the gangsta pathology of most hip hop. And I am glad to say, unashamedly, emphatically, “hell yeah.” The 7H family, including its newest soldier The Saint, are proud to be the torchbearers of the Golden Era of Hip Hop. Those were great times. And what The Saint has done with “Grown Folk Music” is focus on the grown folk, the evolving Hip Hop audience as well as celebrate and document our history via hip hop “folk music.”

But before we go too far I don’t want to confuse you. “Grown Folk Music” is probably best described as house music. But I know house music, sir, and you are no house music. Actually this is house music filtered through the lens of Hip Hop. It features Vinia Mojica the original Hip Hop songstress, superhero Grap Luva, and veteran Mr. Man. It also features Reggie Watts who when I saw him with his group Maktub at Irving Plaza in 2003, I knew they were more hip hop than most posers on sandboxautomatic.

But when you think about it aren’t House and Hip Hop cousins? One lives on 125th and Old Broadway and the other lives at 184 Hancock Street in Bed Stuy. Different neighborhoods, but more similar than not. I am from the KRS school of Hip Hop culture where hip hop is more than just music but a full fledged cultural force. Hip Hop encompasses fashion, art, dance, commerce, technology, politics, sports, law and the list can go on. So when I say hip hop I mean Pete Rock and CL Smooth as well as Masters at Work as well as Bilal as well as Allen Iverson as well as Triple 5 Soul as well as TATS as well as Johnnie Cochran. So when I say hip hop I mean house and when I say house I mean Hip Hop.

Hip Hop is an evolving work in progress and its participants are constantly changing and growing with the art form. Unfortunately more times than not Hip Hop still acts like an adolescent child who is trying to impress the girl (or boy) down the block. Hiding their insecurities with jewelry and mindless posturing. But there are those who have grown up on Hip Hop and are starting act like grown ups. Some of them are 40, some are 17. Age is not what we mean here by Grown Folk, rather a state of mind. I have seen 16 year old hustlers who are grown and 35 year old men who act like 7th graders. This is music is for grown folk. If you want a record about spinning medallions, epic crack tales, or getting your hair permed for the pimp of the year convention, BET is on 24 hours these days (except on Sunday). This is a record that remembers how to enjoy life. Dance, do the 2 step to Vinia’s “Force of Nature” if that’s all you got. Have a drink and rock all night to “Kryptonite.” Pull your lady on the floor and get your cardio on to “Lift.” Sit down and be quiet while you listen to the soulful sounds of “Another Day.” Whatever you do, treat yourself right. I am sure that is what your Uncle Junior would prefer.

As Hip Hop approaches 30 we, as practioners, must keep the story straight. Make sure people know about the beautiful music that has risen out of the depression of Forest Projects or the middle class struggle of Brentwood, Long Island. If we don’t the next generation may forget about Big Daddy Kane, Special Ed and Hard 2 Obtain. Gasp. They may think Eminem started Hip Hop (as far too many interlopers think already). The Saint is a child of Paid In Full, Follow The Leader and Let The Rhythm Hit ˜Em. He also remembers when you could hear Crystal Waters right after “Buddy.” “Grown Folk Music” takes that energy and updates it. Now we hear Grap Luva next to the beautiful Vinia Mojica. Reggie Watts’ multifaceted voice is right next to the horns of Leron Thomas who is neighbors to Mr. Man. This album reaffirms that’s how it used to be and we can still create this type of beautiful music. That’s what this hip hop “folk music” helps us to remember.

So everybody calm down. Give thanks. Grab your loved one. And be thankful for Hip Hop. Be thankful for Grown Folk Music.

-Mark Cilantro

Saint Discography:

1. “Bosoms Remix” featuring J-Live, Wordsworth and Soulive from 7Heads Are Better Than 1 – “No Edge Ups in South Africa”
2. “Windy C Remix” and “California Remix” from “Kon and Amir present Uncle Juniors Friday Fish Fry “ The Cleaning”
3. “Smiley Remix” from Asheru and Blue Black “48 Months”
4. “Jamboree Remix” off of “48 Months”

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