A Review of The Cunninlynguists’s “Will Rap For Food”
“Knowledge be the key/To unlock your brain/And set your mindstate free.”
Before Florida MC, Mr. SOS joined the group in 2002 and departed in 2004, followed by the addition of Natti in 2004, the Cunninlynguists was composed of the tandem of Deacon the Villian and DJ Kno. Hailing from Lexington, Kentucky, they have recently started gaining nationwide attention throughout the hip hop community. They are in a long line of successful acts from the south including Outkast and the self-proclaimed king of the south, T.I. Their debut album, Will Rap for Food speaks for itself with the different inner cuts that focus on Deacon and Kno rapping in exchange for them asking people for money to purchase food.
They have fast become one of my favorite groups, even when I have been severely critical of southern hip hop music. Both the “Hyphy” movement in the Bay Area and the Crunk” movement in the south have not always sat well with me because I have always believed in the adage, “quality over quantity”. The Cunninlynguists do not have a hidden agenda and the material on this album in particular will swallow you whole. The fortune and the fame concept that many emcees and groups use as fuel for their music is not even a primary concern for Deacon and Kno who concentrate more heavily about the issues that they have faced while building up their stature and reputation as the Cunninlynguists.
My favorite tracks on the album include: “Mindstate” and “Family Ties”. Personal experiences are seen throughout this album by both artists, most notably Deacon the Villian, who raps about losing his sister and changing his ways in order to help support his family and provide an example and leadership for his younger sister. The cuts produced by Kno on this album combine the usage of hip hop, classical, jazz, and other musical genres. He has also been praised for his remix of Jay-Z’s Black Album, the White Al-bu-lum. Not only have they opened themselves up to hip hop with this album, they have also introduced newcomers who have used Will Rap For Food as an outlet to display their skills, including: Mr. SOS, Tondeff, Cashmere the Pro, Braille, Celph Titled, and etc.
Although this might seem like a stretch, I truly feel that the music that the Cunninlynguists have been releasing for the past 5 or 6 years is really reminiscent of old school Outkast, pre-2004. If you have not already heard or checked out an album by them, I heavily emphasize that you should do so immediately. Even though the south has ruled the hip hop world for quite some time now, the Cunninlynguists stand out on their own because of their continuous efforts to touch upon issues that are not one dimensional, something more artists should be more conscious of.