The Blue Scholars aren’t you’re typical hip hop duo. Lyricist Geologic is the son of Filipino immigrants. Producer Sabzi is an Iranian American. The group was formed in the Pacific Northwest –Seattle to be exact- which isn’t exactly a hip hop hotbed. While they’ve become local heroes in EmeraldCity, they remain largely unknown throughout the rest of the country.
Their latest offering, OOF! EP, isn’t going to change this. The album consists of 12 tracks, six with lyrics and then those same six repeated in instrumental form. Sabzi’s production is effectively unusual, but Geologic’s rhymes, for the most part, lack originality. He has a strong, distinctive flow, which often makes his lyrics seem more interesting than they actually are.
EPs can be frustrating because of their brevity, which prevents the listener from getting into any type of rhythm with the music. OOF! is no exception. Illmatic, Reasonable Doubt and Food & Liquor are great albums, in part, because the ordering of the tracks enhances each individual song. "D’Evils" heard on its own pales in comparison to "D’Evils" heard following "Feelin’ It." Good artists give a lot thought to their track listing. And on all the classics, regardless of genre, the way one songs flows into the next has a lot of meaning.
That said, with OOF!, six tracks simply aren’t enough to give the EP much significance. “Coo” is far and away the best song. Geologic lays the nostalgia on thick as he paints an amusing picture of childhood over an understated Sabzi winner. Lyrical highlights include: “everybody gettin’ fucked, red, white, and blue dildo” and “used to make friends with squares is they sister was hot.”
Two other tracks, “Cruz” and the Hawaii-tribute “HI-808,” are noteworthy, but unexceptional. On “Cruz,” Sabzi combines a simple baseline with horns and claps, for a very laidback feel and Geologic’s hook, “cruisin’ with my, cruisin’ with my, cruisin’ with my crew,” is easy on the ears.
Yeah, the EP has its moments, and the Blue Scholars certainly have the potential to create better, more complete projects.
In addition to rapping, Geologic is also a community organizer. If he bring that activist spirit to his rhymes and become more lyrically significant, the Blue Scholars will be a powerful duo. But for now, OOF! prompts little more than an aiight reaction.