Move.Meant – Good Money EP

Move.meant - Good Money EP Artist: Move.meant
Album: Good Money EP
Label: Wax Paper Records / Outlook Music
Rating: 3.5/5

Move.meant is a Los Angeles
based three man crew with a growing underground following. Champ is
the MC of the group and he frequently turns his college educated sensibilities
toward very serious issues. His delivery is consistent and very clear.
Just Beats is the producer for the crew and he supplies everything from
old school type beats to more experimental concoctions. The DJ, Spider,
tosses in the cuts, making the tracks come alive. Move.meant released
their self titled debut album in 2003 and received a hardy thumbs up
from underground heads in Cali. The buzz from their debut has created
great anticipation for the Good Money EP and maybe, just maybe,
Move.meant has managed to hang on to their fans and make some new ones.

The title track is a backpacker
tribute to the working man or as the intro says, it’s for anybody
who’s ever been broke. No shout outs to European designers or cars
that cost more than the average home in this joint. Just Beats lays
a very fitting back drop for this working poor -themed track. The piano
and bassline trudge along steady, but grudgingly like they need a boost,
just like the average joes Champ raps about in his crystal clear delivery. 
All of the frustration and struggle of being broke is laid out and laced
with shout outs to everybody from assembly line workers to those cats
that sell flowers on the street. The church choir-like loop provides
the sound of hope and by the end, Champ is explaining how folks get
out of the nickel and dime rut by using ambition, education and some
good investing. This track is a good example of how a solid beat, intelligent
lyrics and a tight flow can all actually be found in one song. 
It sends a positive message without being too preachy and you can even
nod your head to it.

If there’s a prize for most
direction words used in a song, then Champ wins for “Str8UpNDown “.
He uses all his ups, downs and around to describe how and why people
should straight up revolt right now. Cuts from DJ Spider make this song
stand out as he slices up a quirky clarinet and some well chosen JFK
quotes. Champ touches on some very important issues in his verses, but
the track lacks the energy to spark the revolution it speaks of.

Inspiration filled “Move
On ” puts DJ Spider’s abilities on the forefront once again. The
bassline has somewhat of an old school feel and Champ’s verses nestle
neatly between Spider’s injection of soulful cries and hip hop quotes.
The old school feel and Champ’s motivational spittin’ make this
track a good joint to nod to on the way to work.

The fourth track is aptly titled.
It’s called “Problems ” and it’s full of them. The beat grates
your ears and on top of that it’s completely inappropriate for the
subject matter. Champ tackles such heavy topics as Dubya, child labor,
international relations and nuclear weapons; but it’s kinda hard to
take dude seriously when he’s rapping over some freaked out 80’s
video game type beat. As usual, Champ is clear and well paced in his
delivery, but even he couldn’t save this song. Given a whole new beat,
Champ’s verses could possibly be salvaged.

The rest of  the EP consists
of  remixes of earlier tracks. The remix for “Move On ” comes
in a little harder than the original version. Instead of opening up
with the soulful singing, the bassline rumbles in and never leaves.
This version is more likely to get a crowd excited when those first
few seconds play. The “Good Money ” remix features Step Fam members
Trek Life, Blest and Crush One. All the MCs give at least decent verses,
but the original version is actually better.

The Good Money
EP is a flawed, yet solid effort. A common criticism of ¬Ç√Ñ√≤conscious’
or ¬Ç√Ñ√≤backpacker’ hip hop is that if you’re whack and/or your beat
is garbage nobody’s going to want to hear whatever ¬Ç√Ñ√≤great’ message
you have and “Problems ” is a prime example of that exact situation.
Then again, tracks like “Good Money ” show how Move.meant is capable
of creating intelligent, yet fun and accessible music. Over all,
Good Money
is definitely worth a listen and given a few tweaks,
Move.meant has the potential to make a significant impact on hip hop.  

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