One could be excused for thinking this album was a mixtape compilation of someone’s radio show, and on those grounds it would be worth a listen. However, Bobby B presents: The Hidden Treasures Vol. 1 is actually the debut album by One Session, a trio from the West Coast. Cringe is the producer; Tristate and Minus One are the MCs.
Track one, “I Need You”, is like a shout-out to hip-hop itself, with Tease opening the album consciously: “First in the studio, last to leave/ Compose somethin’ so beautiful, to grab the streets/ Take the hood on my back for the love of the art/ It’s like a movie of the culture and I’m playin’ my part/ This is more than a song for people to dance to/ There’s a message in the song that’s sayin’ I need you/ Like a kick need a snare and a couple need a pair/ You the life of the party, and life needs air/ So I breathe through you, speak to you/ Eat, shit and sleep to you…” Populism always plays well in hip-hop.
B-Rhaka drops some smart, grimy flow atop a fine piano-and-maracas beat on “Change Things”. It’s a credible single for underground radio, which appears to be increasingly the arbiter of mainstream tastes as well. “Just All Right” includes one of the album’s funniest lines: “Look no further, it’s the verbal version of murder, with connects like an internet server use cursors/ After typing the verse of all verses, you can say that it’s the lyrical version of WordPerfect”. “Listen Up”, featuring Onique, has one of the most interesting beats so far this year. After this it kind of drags through material that’s average, but not on par with the first third of the album.
“Hardhop” brings things back to equilibrium, with solid rhymes riding out over a beat that’s mellow, but still thumps with menace. It’s the highlight of the album, a track with flavors of Kanye, Asamov and DipSet, of all things — a reference made explicit in the lyric “Micro macro, slow flow natural/ Rough life hassle, wrestle live-wire lassos/ Wide world of rap, the soul clapper/ Invasion of the wack-ass rapper body snatchers/ And prominent, dominant inventor/ The honorary monument, street representer/ Tip-to show stopper, chase big knockers, plus I lace the beat, so call me Foot Locker/ The future, hall-of-fame rapid fire six-shooter/ Black bow-legs, foot trooper/ The talk of the town/ New kid, tearin’ it down/ Look in my eyes, and I got you now”.
“Early in the Morn” is kind of an interlude, as the lyrics give way to a skit designed to show how folks can obtain free marijuana from some dealers in exchange for Bobby B CDs. It opens up a whole in the time-space continuum, like when you a television on television, showing itself on television: how do to they trade the dealer a CD that already has the transaction on the disc? Weird, but funny. “Street Warrior” is passably political; the lyrics are fine, but the rock-based beat doesn’t hold up. “Bearskin Rug” closes things on a pseudo-romantic vibe reminiscent of Chef from South Park.
All in all, One Session has made a strong start with this album. Out of 18 tracks, a third were nice, and the rest were alright. There were two tracks of immediate utility in the larger market — “Change Things” and “Hardhop”. I don’t know what kind of herbals they got in exchange for this CD, but it’s certainly worth a blunt.