When I think of classic hip-hop I think of The Geto Boys’s “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” or Nas’s “One Love” or Outkast’s “Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac)” or — you get the idea. At no point do I ever think of adding an ‘al’ to the end of ‘classic.’ If you’re good at adding letters together, then you’ve guessed what I’m getting at — classical hip-hop.
As hip-hop has garnered more and more of the respect it deserves as an art form, everyone from 50 Cent (see his Vitamin Water commercial) to DJ Premier (see his RE:GENERATION project collaboration with Nas) have been reinterpreting/making hip-hop songs with classical, orchestral elements. So, it should come as no surprise that the Portland Cello Project has decided to make this idea the basis for their latest album.
Portland Cello Project’s album, Homage, does just what I’m talking about to what I’m guessing are some of their favorite hip-hop songs. Though not all of the album is great and could use a little more breadth given the amount of ‘classic’ hip-hop material to choose from. However, though not every track — a majority of which are attributed to Kanye West — translates as well as one would hope, it is still worth listening to as it probably only a matter of time before your favorite rapper and producer link up with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to ‘bring da ruckus’ to classical music fans.
Below are two of the Kanye tracks the Portland Cello Project covers. Let us know what you think in the comments section:
“Ni***s In Paris”
“All of the Lights”