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[Preserving Efforts Vol. 01] Preserving Efforts Vol. 01
Label: Beat Broker/Jasmatuph Creations

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

Jasmatuph Creations press release for "Preserving Efforts Vol. 01" describes this DVD as "a project two years in the making." Damn son, some Hollywood movies come and go from theaters and are out on DVD in retail outlets in HALF that time. What accounts for the large amount of time that was put into putting this project together?

For a start it's how carefully chosen the hip-hop videos on this DVD are. "Preserving Efforts" reflects a global perspective on hip-hop, so this is not a compilation of things you'll see in rotation on Direct Effect or 106 & Park. In fact you probably wouldn't even see these videos on whatever the Australian, Canadian and British equivalents of those television shows are. It's not as though you won't be able to understand the rhymes to these beats, because everything's busted out in english, but the accents may at times throw you a curve. In fairness there are some New York heads who feel the same way about the Dirty South or vice versa, so your mileage may vary. One could even argue that "Down for Nothin" by the Living Legends, a well-known and long-standing Cali rap family, has fatter accents in their flows than the Australian team of Bliss N Eso on "Then Till Now." Other names you'll recognize include the Brooklynite via Boston flows of Guru on "Hood Dreamin," underground favorite Murs doing his classic "H-U-S-T-L-E" and the inellectually stimulating raps of Slug on Atmosphere's "Say Hey There."

It's not merely beats and rhymes that are being PRESERVED on this DVD though, because if that was their goal a fat compilation CD could have been put out instead, one which would get high marks for the quality of the songs and international flavor of the artists chosen. It's fair to say that Pete Philly & Perquisite's "Grateful" can hang with any of these tracks even though their rap comes straight out of The Netherlands, but it's equally impressive how distinctive the music video that accompanies it is. The images are in stark black and white - a piano being played, a cello being bowed, an MC sitting at a desk with a pen and a pad, and suddenly a colorfully sung hook brings a rainbow of visualization into the situation. It's hard to explain just how refreshing this song and composition are, which is one long "thank you" to everybody that means something not only in the artist's life but your own, all through the metaphor of a hand-delivered mixtape. As noteworthy as "Grateful" is it's certainly not the exception on "Preserving Efforts," but rather the rule. These songs and accompanying videos express equal levels of creativity, becoming epic mini-movies that run the gamut of experiences. The Optimen's "Give it Up" plays like a harrowing tale of crime and punishment with police agents who seem to be straight out of The Matrix, with the protagonist having only a microphone to defend himself with. "Say Hey There" plays like a movie as well, only one in which Slug is a reluctant actor uncomfortable with playing the part who would rather say fuck it and go "On the Run" with Kool G. Rap in the cassette deck.

Everything about this compilation makes sense even if it's not apparent to the viewer exactly how these artists and videos were chosen from looking at the DVD jacket. You can take my word for it though that Def Tex's "Freaks" is just as relevant as Tzu's "Dam Busters" as is Wordburglar's "The Wordburglar," even though they go all around the world from England to Australia to Canada. In fact what they have in common despite these disparate backgrounds and differing musical approaches is their common love for hip-hop music and culture, which is really what "Preserving Efforts" is all about. The two years spent acquiring, compiling, and organizing these music videos, with all the record label and director's rights that needed to be secured, was time and money well spent even if Jasmatuph Creations doesn't make a profit in the end; that's because the title of the DVD is a perfect description of what they've achieved here. The efforts of some of hip-hop's best audio and visual architects have been preserved on this set for future generations, so that their efforts will not have been in vain. If you want to see hip-hop's creativity expressed at the highest possible levels, you owe it to yourself to track down a copy of this release.

Music: 9 of 10 Videos: 9 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 9 of 10

Originally posted: February 20, 2007
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