Semi Official, much like the Dynospectrum project, is one of those projects on the Rhymesayers label that has a loyal cult following. It consists of I Self Devine on the vocals and DJ Abilities on the scratches, with them both collaborating for the musical production. The result is two of the Twin Cities best (“THE best” is easily arguable in both cases) in the respective fields of MCing and turntablism displaying some of the finest examples of those skills on one project, The Anti-Album.
When I looked at this weeks H2 Local playlist, I simply could not resist highlighting Semi Official’s “Get Up.” It is quite simply two minutes and 28 seconds of hip hop bliss. No moment is wasted. Two seconds of intense drum pounding lead into an 11-second teasing of DJ Abilities intricately manipulating vocal soundbytes, which represent the song title. For the next minute and 15 seconds or so, I Self Devine comes in, slightly overlapping the conclusion of the scratch assault and unleashing an impressive display of verbal dexterity and wit before dropping into a powerful and authoritative chanted hook. Without a second to spare, DJ Abilities picks up on the turntables where he left off from the intro, but with even more vigor and style. The final 18 seconds allow you to fully appreciate the well-constructed beat, as well as gather the scattered fragments of your brain particles, likely blown from the high caliber performances of the two musical assailants.
I printed all the lyrics to “Get Up” previously on my blog when I did a review of the album, but at that time I had written the lyrics from my own transcribing; since then, I was able to have I Self Devine provide some corrections. Plus I think the fact that it was a part of a 1000+ word article, it’s likely people didn’t fully digest full impact of the verbal display—and that would be unfortunate.
This is the love and hate relationship
Volatile about to flip, greet you with a pistol whip now you see me crystal clear
Every words a missile that’ll blast you with another issue
Self Esteem, good health I mean, how your Mom’s a fiend
Stop wandering! In the middle of war pondering
Bombs detonating, limbs falling off with smoke screens
Like do I belong here? If you need to ask, you need a mask with the filter missing
Now you’re in your true position
Stop scheming! And looking hard
Cause youse a fraud, plus your bodyguards missing a few vital body parts
Like heart, brain, backbone, and vertebrae
I’m tired in this game, ready to retire into flames and fire
The desire, no longer the same
It’s quite deranged, adolescent girls calling my name
And its so hard to really truly deal with this
It’s scandalous, hold my face inside a open fist
Like 50 in the game, grey hair, working temp jobs, file exempt
Going to trial in denial on rent
Loot spent, plus my child is rich
But like a d**k I wasn’t present so I don’t get s**t
Is that karma?! A fly ni**a standing without his armor
Is that drama?! Your older sister’s just your baby’s mama
There’s no honor in ‘Your Honor’
Just blood donors in a cloud of loners getting stoned with the stoners
My whole uniform’s stripped, because I earned stripes
Five tours of duty, your truly, acting so moody
Black and unruly, evil rolls thru me, don’t act booshie, let’s get graphic like the movies!
Follow along for maximum effect:
Catch Kevin Beacham and Siddiq’s hip-hop show H2 every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. on 89.3 The Current. Their all-Minnesota hip-hop show, H2 Local, airs Tuesdays at noon and Wednesday nights at 11 p.m. on the Local Current stream. You can listen to the Local Current stream at thecurrent.org/local, on HD radio in the Twin Cities at 89.3 HD2, and via the MPR Radio app, which is available for iPhones and Androids.