Picked this one up after it was suggested to me by a guy I worked with, Maui Shaun. I told him that I was getting tired of the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis lovefest that was going around the city at the time. I was looking for something that was part of the Seattle hip-hop scene…couldn’t be Sir Mix-A-Lot or something that I had heard before…and I found exactly what I was looking for in the Blue Scholars’ Cinemetropolis.

The concept for the album is, at its core, pretty genius. Not saying that no one had attempted it before, but, being from Seattle made this one hit a little closer to home.  They drop rhymes & lyrics that help the listener connect with them as a group, and at the same time, connects the listener with the city. Not in a way that someone listening outside of the city wouldn’t get it, they would, but the connection with the Seattle listener may be a little tighter.

The project was funded by a Kickstarter campaign (as a lot of music acts do these days). What was different about this one was the online video element where each of the songs had a short film associated with it. Keeping the whole project cohesive, Blue Scholars decided to name each track after someone that had made a pretty big contribution to society:

  • Marion Sunshine – Actress from the turn of the 20th century
  • Rani Mukerji – Current Bollywood actress
  • Yuri Kochiyama – Activist who held Malcolm X after he was assassinated

There are a couple of other noted people with tracks named after them (Chief Sealth, Tommy Chong). Names of people that may not come to mind right away but tickles you with an itch to check Wikipedia.

The album sounds complete, from start to finish. Musically, the sound is different from one track to the next pulling from a wide spectrum of influences. The lyrics are intelligent and often make you think if they are rapping about what you think they are rapping about…or is there a deeper meaning to search for.

CinemetropolisBlue Scholars4:06
HusseinBlue Scholars3:40
Fou LeeBlue Scholars3:44
Lalo SchifrinBlue Scholars3:35
Seijun SuzukiBlue Scholars (feat. Thig Natural)4:33
Anna KarinaBlue Scholars3:17
Marion SunshineBlue Scholars3:10
Slick WattsBlue Scholars3:24
George JacksonBlue Scholars3:56
Oskar Barnack / Oscar GrantBlue Scholars4:08
Yuri KochiyamaBlue Scholars3:52
Rani MukerjiBlue Scholars3:16
Tommy ChongBlue Scholars (feat. Macklemore)4:13
Chief SealthBlue Scholars4:42
FinBlue Scholars4:22