Review: Grandmaster Flash – The Bridge: Concept of a Culture
by Winston "Stone" Ford
Let’s face it, hip-hop dosen’t age well. While rockers like the Rolling Stones can sell out arenas well into their 80s, and people like Paul McCartney can release albums well past his prime and still get acclaim, hip-hop’s originators have a hard time releasing new material and get respect by the masses.
Why is that? Let’s face it, hip-hop is a young man’s game. It revolves too much aroud pop culture, and the current hip-hop tracks have been too commoditized to have any long-lasting value.
But these barriers did not stop Grandmaster Flash from releasing The Bridge in 2009, and let’s be glad it didn’t.
Flash, one of hip-hop pioneers (and one of hip-hop’s first victims of Industry rule #4080), looks forward rather than backward on his latest project, The Bridge. Instead of reminiscing about the good old days, and how we can never get back to them, Flash lied up a super crew of hip-hop’s finest (Q-Tip, KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, and Busta among others) to create an album that combines a little of the past with a lot of the future.
This album has bangers. It starts with cuts like “Shine All Day,” featuring Q-Tip, which sounds like it came off of his last album The Renaissance (this is not a bad thing), to the instrumental “Here Comes The DJ, and round out with “Can I Take You Higher,” to the innovative scratch track “”Zuka The Sound.” Flash even has a dope tribute to the early NYC b-boy crews with “Tribute to the Breakdancer,” the best track on the album, hands down.
But even with such a solid slate of songs, some of the project comes off pretty mixed. Tracks like “Grown and Sexy,” and “Swagger,” and “Those Chix,” are a half-hearted attempt to cater to the older crowd, but production and the subject matter come off as archaic. Removing these songs would make a more concise and succinct album.
All in all, The Bridge isn’t a bad look for your CD collection. Grandmaster Flash has created a template for classic hip-hop comeback efforts, and hopefully it will encourage other old heads to get back into the game.