As much as we may invite the exciting and experimental into the fold, I think we could all use a little more infusion of the time-tested, golden-era of hip hop. It’s a vibe, and it just feels good. $tacks, while decidedly throw-back in style, could easily still secure a spot in today’s mainstream under the right conditions. He has the skills in spades; his flow is exuberant, electric, and imbued with passion and devotion. You can feel an authenticity in his voice, something which is largely missing from the current come-up scene. Just like the good days, $tacks are too hard and real to bullshit. While there may have been a time when hip hop had grown tired of that, in an era over-saturated with new-wave, a little return to form is more welcomed than ever.
“I am HIP HOP” begins with a pumping bass-line build, and an expertly crafted stereo field creates the sense that you are swimming in waves of sound. These vintage vibes are interlaced with squealing synth, layered in warm saturation. The effect is a sonically invigorating composition.
He must have been “raised right” — he has the mind and good manners to name his hip hop forefathers in his lines, “can’t forget about the doctor [Dre] and the D.O.C.!” He gives credit where credit is due, respect where respect has been earned. Devotion to the greats who preceded us was once a deeply rooted tradition in the hip hop community. Too many of us have started to get away from these days. Stacks says, “couldn’t flex without paying all the legends homage, I’m a threat, without them, I coulda never done it”. This is a welcome contrast to the influx of new, too young, still-immature, irreverent independents flooding the hip hop scene today. Mostly having a pointedly cavalier attitude, some even out-right saying they don’t think it’s important to show respect for rap icons, such as Biggie, Tupac, or NWA. This attitude does much to discredit said-artists, with many die-hard enthusiasts tuning them out on that basis alone. $tacks, however, has decided to be part of the solution rather than just another voice of the problem. He is making relevant, modern tracks, all while instilling in his listeners the positive message that paying homage and showing reverence is both our privilege and our obligation as participants in this culture.
This song checks every box for me. The vocals, the beat, the message, even the adlibs — definitely the adlibs — they’re all on point. $tacks is a refreshing return to the golden era of sound, lyricism, and passion. He is a new take on what we already know and love, or, perhaps what we forgot we loved so much. When you think of $tacks, think of that infectious baby-voice chanting:
“This is music!”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.