Title: Slave Education XE
Artist: The Impossebulls
Release Date: 2014 Oct 03
License: CC BY-NC-ND
The second release from The Impossebulls has something of a storied history. Apparently due to a technical foul up the distributor for the original release of Slave Education got masters crossed with the first Impossebulls album and produced a rather large run of CDs. This hurt things to a level that was irreparable at the time. But, now, nearly 10 years later, blocSonic has released this digital version of Slave Education as part of the run-up to the release of Everything Has Changed; Nothing Is Different.
But before I get to the latest release, Slave Education is worthy of some discussion.
Impossebulls Slave Education
The first thing I have to say is: this is an incredibly long release. nearly two and a half hours long! It is formatted for creating two CD’s from the original files. The second CD worth of material is a bunch of additional tracks that weren’t included on the original release, including alternate versions of some tracks. For the purpose of this review, I am going to focus on the first disc and hope that you explore some of the goodies on the second disc.
This release opens rather uncharacteristically for a Hip-Hop album with a drum solo piece, followed by a “response” track. What makes this interesting to me is that it reaches back into the culture of African music with the call and response style. Immediately I get the message: this isn’t your typical popular hip-hop release. There is more at work in this music, it’s more social and cultural statement instead of being about current topics.
Just listening to the title track ‘Slave Education (Pay the Ransome)’ they start taking on hard topics. The song is about how college athletes are, in essence, in the new slavery system in this country. It’s the false promise of education when instead these people are put into a system where they have to perform for the white masses. This isn’t to say that some come through without an education, but they didn’t get it from the schools they attended, or rather they got it in spite of the educational system.
This release goes on to take on any number of social issues, like drugs, racism, patriotism, just to name a few. The magnum opus of this release is the five-part Creole Rebeliion which was designed as an anthem of breaking free from the stereotypes and social conditioning that keeps any class of people from being kept in any form of slavery. Oh, did I forget to mention, this isn’t just about racial issues? It’s a much broader social message that crosses racial and social boundaries.
As a release this isn’t a perfect release. C-Doc says in the liner notes:
It’s cool, I like it for what it is. I’ve come to think that it’s bloated and occasionally sloppy, and not in a good way.
While I don’t have the sensibilities about hip-hop that C-Doc has, I don’t completely disagree his assessment. There are some tracks that seem to drag a bit, or could have been a bit more focused on making a single statement, instead of trying to link several topics together. And, honestly, given that it’s been ten years since it’s intended release, some of the samples and quotes have lost their relevance.
But, that being said, there is a lot of this release that is still applicable in society today. When talking about how college athletes are in the equivalent of a slave system, we might see that as more of the institutional racism that has come to the forefront of social debate (although, unfortunately not loudly enough). Then there is the topic of war, which is still relevant today.
So, while one might be tempted to look at this release as a historical perspective into the events that happened ten years ago (because it does show signs of its age), there is still a lot of relevance in the issues that The Impossebulls put front and center.