Earth Amplified

Title: Earth Amplified

Artists: Seasunz and J. Bless

Label: self-released

Formats: CD (limited ed.), MP3

Release Date: 2010

The Green Movement has made a major push within the United States over the last several years as many communities have begun to turn their collective attentions toward issues affecting the environment. Oakland, CA based group Seasunz + J.Bless are at the forefront of pushing Green concerns within the hip hop community. MC Seasunz and producer/MC J-bless dropped their debut LP, Solar Stereo, in 2007.  Earth Amplified is their follow up and was produced in conjunction with multi-instrumentalist Golden Hornz.  Ten percent of the proceeds from this project go to the Green Job Training Fund at the Oakland Green Youth Arts and Media Center.

Over the course of thirteen tracks, Seasunz, J.Bless and guests provide poetic commentary on a plethora of social issues, giving particular attention to the environment. The highlights are too numerous to name. The album opens up with the funky, “Justice” which features an infectious horn part and cool background vocals from Chi. “Hungry Money” finds Seasunz, J. Bless, and Zumbi of Zion I politicking on the downfalls of American capitalism. Seasunz shines on the (of dead prez) assisted “Global Warning” as he raps “So what the problem with that/you’re just a corporate exec who extract that/ oil from the boils of the backs of Nigerians/ gimme that.” Following is the official “Global Warning” video, featuring images of climate change activism by photographer Robert van Waarden:

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While both Seasunz and J.Bless verbally lace “Waterworld,” the true highlight of the song is the well executed water-drip sample. steals the show on “Food Fight” when he spits, “What’s beef? Beef is when you’re starvin’ or famine/nothing won’t grow and the land stays barren/pollution in the river, mercury in the salmon/What sense does it make to be at war with the planet?” Other notables include the Killah Priest assited “Nitewriters,” and “Not the Same Thing” on which Seasunz flexes his double-time skills. Aside from the underwhelming   “Any Day Now” and the unnecessary “Defend Her,” this album is flawless.

Earth Amplified by Seasunz + J.Bless is the essence of edutainment. The duo seamlessly meshes highly articulate socio-political commentary with quality hip hop aesthetics in a fashion that will capture the attention of a variety of rap audiences. Hopefully, Earth Amplified will serve as a catalyst for a stronger relationship between the hip hop community and the Green movement.

Editor’s Note: The Earth Amplified album and the video “Global Warning” were recently featured  in a panel and exhibit sponsored by the Archives of African American Music and Culture as part of Indiana University’s fall Themester 2010 focus on Sustainability. Related videos on our top 10 list included: Biz Markie’s “Earth Day Remix;” Tem Blessed’s “Now Is the Time;” Reflection Eternal’s “Ballad of the Black Gold;”  Dr. Octagon’s “Trees;”  Doo Dat’s  “The Dream Reborn: My President Is Green;” Arrested Development’s “Greener;” Shamarr Allen, Dee-1, Paul Sanchez, and Bennie Pete’s “Sorry Ain’t Enough No More(about the BP oil spill); and last but not least, Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message.”  You might want to roll these out for Earth Day 2011.

Reviewed by Langston Collin Wilkins