Stephanie by Jabee
April Oklahoma Music Digest – Week 2
As anyone who’s lived in it for over thirty minutes knows, the 405 is not the ideal place for an emerging hip-hop scene. Part of this can be explained by the 92.6% of us Okies that aren’t black, and the rest can be explained by the overwhelming majority of that 92.6% who’ll love Accidental Racist by Brad Paisley and LL Cool J (N.B. OK, here’s thing. I realize there has maybe never been a song more teed up for WD to lambaste than this thing, but I’ll refrain. I think that maybe the idea comes from a good place. (N.B. and if you haven’t read/heard anything about this song here) I at least know that from what I’ve read and heard about Brad Paisley since my lumping him in with NP during last month’s self-righteous soliloquy on country music (N.B. ups to AZ), that he wrote this song himself (N.B. along with America’s newest “safe” rapper (Thank you CBS) and was trying to craft some sincere, if not ham-handed and awkward (to the point of accidentally being racist) lyrics about race. It wasn’t crafted in an NP boardroom as Nashville’s outreach to “urban” youth, even though sometimes it sounds like it. BP is honestly trying to say something about race in America and pride about where you’re from, and how those two intersect in unfortunate ways. I think I get it, but frankly I can list you about twelve Drive-by Truckers’ songs that do it better.) and who’ll believe this love allows them to call themselves hip-hop fans.
So there’s that, But Jabee is an Okie, which is odd to say, and is beginning to get some national recognition. He played SXSW, and hip-hop’s producer of the moment, El-P, produced this track. I must say, it kinda kills. El-P’s production pulses with immediacy like it’s being pushed right to the edge only to retreat to the chorus each time. Jabee’s got a great cadence that’s somewhere between Killer Mike (N.B. not killamike) (also an El-P collaborator) and the chubby teenager voice of Lil’ Troy. And when he says “Oklahoma” on this track, it doesn’t feel that out of place. Hopefully, Jabee’s star is on the rise, and hip hop in the 405…is never associated with Nashville radio.