The Streets of Babylon by Samori (Review)

Samori has taken the art of hip-hop a notch higher with his beautifully crafted musical tracks and passionate lyrics.
The Streets of Babylon - Samori

On any given day, the psyche of the average person covers a wide spectrum of emotion, and that same person may see the same problem from many different points of view throughout that day. To relate all these different emotional states/points of view musically would be a daunting task for anyone; however, that’s exactly what Samori has accomplished on his newly-released album The Streets of Babylon. Using vivid lyrical illustrations coupled with a wide range of musical stylings, Samori gives substance to these diverse and sometimes contradictory emotions in a spectacular array of lyrical skill and musical prowess.

The tracks play like a point/counterpoint to the reality that many young men and women face on a daily basis. For example, the fast and hard-hitting single “Gotta Move It” describes the innate feeling we all have to move forward and make progress; it’s counterpart “Hold Up…” is the exact opposite — the embodiment of the frustration of hitting a proverbial brick wall. The up-tempo track “A Million,” with its underlying desire to achieve success, plays anithesis to “Paperchase” which downplays the significance of using money as the yardstick for measuring that success. The title track, with a sublimated beat and almost spiritual hook, describes in vivid detail the feeling of despair at the crime, poverty and suffering that can be felt in many inner-city neighborhoods; the similarly crafted “Pow-Wow” on the other hand, advocates rising above the petty differences and uniting for the common good.

Samori has, with this album, taken the art of hip-hop a notch higher with his beautifully crafted musical tracks and passionate lyrics. As a bonus, he has laced the album with guest appearances by the rising stars of the Philly hip-hop scene — Jamaican lyricist Cherri Poet, hardcore hip-hop veterans Capital Punishment and smooth-flowing Mista Spit. Throughout the album, Samori maintains a unique perspective, production style, and high quality that is consistent, ensuring this album will be one of the definitive underground works to rise out of Philly this year.

Written by Wendy Patton.