Skillz – Million Dollar Backpack / Design of a Decade


Sick Download
So Far, So Good
(feat. Common & Talib Kweli) Download
(For Real) He Don’t Own Me Download
from Million Dollar Backpack (2008, Koch)

Skillz is one of those artists that promotes us underground hip hop fans as much as we promote our favorite artists. If you have felt that there was no need to support this man, then you’re slipping. Skillz ghostwriter album was about one of the best albums the year it was released and fell on a deaf-eared hip hop community struggling with exactly what hip hop was and what was happening to what they had known was hip hop. Those of us who have been following the trail he was blazing were much more comfortable knowing that there was that kind action out there. Skillz action.

On the Okayplayer website (one I do not frequent), Skillz has a whole section of the website to himself where he proclaims on his blog, “Keep it hip hop or keep it the fuck away from me”. This is his prominent statement on exactly what kind of music he’s interested in doing and what kind of image he wants to promote. He continues to promote that statement all through his albums.

He released the design of a decade mixtape, which was an essay into influential hip hop in the era that he, Audio1, myself and many other grown-up hip hop fans came up in. It was a mixtape worth celebrating and some of the aspects of his final release for Million Dollar Backpack were overlaying themes there. If you cant afford to order Million Dollar Backpack, or you cant find it in the store (as i experienced), then go get/download Design of a Decade at the very least.

Now the first thing i noticed about MDB was the intro, sometimes intro’s just blow by me and i didn’t even bother to listen to it. The intro for MDB starts with several people, producers, singers, emcees talking about what they have in their backpacks and then he goes on to spit an almost a capella rap about backpacks and hip hop and how people have gotten rid of them or acted like they never had them when they achieved fame.

Immediately what pops into my mind is me digging around in my backpack at the age of nineteen trying to find my Del tape to put into my walkman with the oversize 30 dollar stereo headphones i had purchased to hear my beats better while i was skateboarding to work. I remember i had comics, drawing pads, pencils / markers, an HTML book, work apron w/ name tag already pinned on it and a hoodie in there. Oh, and of course some good herbals for blazing at the park and a couple of condoms in case i hooked up with some ‘slimmy’ after work. What you had in your backpack was definitive of you, and everyone had something different in their backpack. Skillz states at the end, he keeps his dreams in his.

Skillz covers the different forms of rap, but most of it is the style which he made famous. a very tell-it-like-it-is form of spit that doesnt really play with a lot of stylish speech. He drops bombs and drops them straight on the listener. Its one of the things you can really appreciate when listening to his music with someone else. Punchlines are not lost in the dialogue. This one is actually worth the money.

So Far, So Good (Remix) / Sick

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