[sz-youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AHwbzkcRY0″ /]
If you have 9th Wonder, a Grammy-Award winning producer, making a beat for you, there is tremendous pressure, but there is also immense potential for your song to speak to the Hip Hop masses. Fortunately for 9th Wonder, Skyzoo is no stranger to Hip Hop and, hailing from Brooklyn, he provides hard-hitting visual rhymes that garner attention and keep the people listening because he speaks from experience, not fiction. Like Blu & Exile or Atmosphere, 9th Wonder and Skyzoo are a dynamic force when it comes to making music together, as heard in their 2006 collaborative EP entitled,Cloud 9: The 3 Day High, which has since become an underground favorite.
In JanSport Strings, Skyzoo embraces 9th Wonder’s soulful sample-based production to tell his life story: from a kid aspiring to be an emcee, to becoming an accomplished artist, and all the things in between that never changed at all, including kids carrying JanSport backpacks, locals rocking New York Knicks gear, and folks selling on the corner to make a living. This song is an accurate example of Skyzoo’s narrative skill in which he tells not only his own story, but also the stories of others who continue to dream and work hard to achieve their goals. I did not grow up in Brooklyn. My experiences are different from Skyzoo’s. However, I can relate to his song because there are common themes of hope, inspiration, and dreams which we all are familiar with, especially if you are a hardworking artist. By thanking Chi-Ali for the life he has now, these themes are best encapsulated in the hook:
“One time up for Chi-Ali
‘Cause I could be in a box if I ain’t see that screen
My mama prayed that I wouldn’t be Chi-Ali
Now my mama straight ‘cause I wanted to be Chi-Ali”
The ending to JanSport Strings is a clip of Chi-Ali’s Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number, the song that changed Skyzoo’s life by inspiring him to rhyme when he was only nine years old. Now, people like us can enjoy Skyzoo’s music and perhaps also be inspired to rhyme, no matter how old we are.
-Eddy M. Gana Jr.