You have to love the originality and diversity that new artists have been bringing to the hip-hop game lately. For the longest it seemed like everyone was being cloned, whether it was subject matter, style, or even slang. Somehow the mold was broken and new artists have been bringing originality and substance back to the game. One of the artists helping to diversify hip-hop is a Brooklyn MC by the name of Josh Baze.
Music took me to a place id thought id never see…I had no choice to seize…like the letter 3 (Concrete Rose)
Before I even ripped the plastic off the cover I could tell that this was not going to be a “typical” hip-hop album. The album title is Hi-Heels & Low Lifes and the album cover is a black and white image of a woman (wearing neon high heels) in an alley. The title of the album is in the bottom corner but there is no mention of Josh at all. I understood why the picture was taken (given the title of the album) but I thought it was weird that he chose this to be the cover because the debut cover is a BIG deal in the world of hip-hop. Think about Nas and Bigand how iconic their debut covers were (opting to use their baby pictures) or Jay-Z with his brim tilted on the Reasonable Doubt cover. These are images that are forever ingrained in my memory. It was also different because in the ego-driven world of hip-hop, Josh Baze chose not to be on his own debut cover. I was very confused UNTIL I found out that the woman crouching in high heels was Victoria’s Secret Angel, former Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl and international super model, Marisa Miller. (Then the cover made a lot more sense)
She can be one of the baddest like Marisa (She’s Gold)
Josh Baze jumps right in and shows his listeners that they are in for something unique. The first song is titled One More Chance, a song about a broken relationship with a pretty catchy (pop-like) hook. Starting the album with this song and even naming the track One More Chance was a statement in itself. I’m used to hip-hop intros being a rapper (or their crew) talking over a beat that you wish they would of chosen to rap on. I don’t remember the last time I put a rap c.d. in and it immediately went right into a song about relationships and topics of that matter. I was also thrown me off because with Josh being from Brooklyn and the opening track being titled One More Chance…of course I was thinking more along the lines of a Biggie sample/tribute/something! He proved that this album was going to be something different and that made me want to listen further to hear what he had to say.
After listening to Hi-Heels & Low Lifes I feel like I have a real understanding of who Josh Baze is as an artist. There is not one track on the album without a message. In a hip-hop climate lacking the substance of old, it was refreshing to listen to an artist put out what he felt his audience needed to hear and wasn’t afraid to break the mold. Josh spoke about everything from politics, fame, and even how his dad stayed and supported his family instead of leaving. Although I wouldn’t say that there was a track that he destroyed lyrically in terms of delivery or flow and the album had moments where it felt slow. I would say that every track was carefully crafted and served its purpose in making Hi-Heels & Low-Lifes a solid listen. If you are looking for something new and unique in hip-hop then Josh Baze’s debut Hi-Heels and Low Lifes is for you.