April 13, 2021

Poor Righteous Teachers - Pure Poverty (1991)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Conscious Rap, Ragga
Label Number: PCD-1415

© 1991 Profile Records
Rappers who take a strong moral stance were beginning to proliferate when the second Poor Righteous Teachers album came out, but this young trio had been "teaching the righteous way" since the beginning, combining hard, funky beats with culture-conscious didacticism. With stage names like Wise Intelligent, Culture Freedom and Father Shaheed, the three may have come across as a bit pretentious, but they really were quite serious; their stated goal was to "teach the blind, deaf and dumb who the real living God is." Okay, maybe a lot pretentious. And if it weren't for the spare, airtight beats and the dexterous samples, their lyrics of cultural awareness, self-sufficiency and religious discipline would probably have fallen flat. But those beats are there and so is the flow -- Wise Intelligent's lilting, reggae-influenced speed rap is especially fine, especially on the dancehall-inflected "Easy Star" and "I'm Comin' Again," an a cappella rap. There are occasional moments of self-contradiction, maybe even hypocrisy: though they solemnly preach respect for "the Black woman," they apparently see nothing wrong with using her orgasmic moans and groans to spice up a track or two. But the album's still a winner overall.

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tags: poor righteous teachers, pure poverty, 1991, flac,