While this mixtape was released 3 years ago in 2011, it still resonates with me as one of the best mixtapes I’ve heard … indie, local, mainstream or otherwise. I don’t know if it’s because it’s actually that good, or because I was spiraling down the rabbit hole when I discovered it and it seemed to be in tune with everything I was into at the moment.
Conspiracies, covert government operations, the illuminati… that kinda shit ya know? So here I am revisiting General Public Radio (G.P.R.) with a purpose, equipped with the Th.Ur.Di. lens giving it a thorough review.
The last verse of the Intro is creative in that it’s like a table of contents on what’s to come. General cleverly raps about the track list by describing what you’ll be hearing. For example, the last song on this mixtape is called “introspection hour”, the next track after the intro is a “commercial break” and following the commercial break is the track entitled “Today’s Forecast.”
“And the last hours introspection, it’s in the perfect place
analyze your life, meditate and make sure its straight
now i’ma take you to the weather after this commercial break”
The Commercial Break is actually a double entendre where General expresses the commercial choke-hold on hip-hop music, even eluding to the rumors of how it’s ran by secret societies and fueled by material possessions.
“I go by the General, all about residuals
got em on my own, no blood, bones and rituals
just, keepin’ it lyrical, not concerned with materials
but of course i want it, my stomach it isn’t nearly full”
– Commercial Break 1
I grew up listening to NPR; so the concept alone caught my attention and captivated me. I wondered “why the hell is he fashioning his mixtape after a news program?” He has clips from broadcaster Diane Rehm throughout the tape and also samples of the NPR theme song. This makes the mixtape that much more enjoyable to me. If you don’t know Diane Rehm by name, you’ll certainly never forget her once you hear her voice.
General’s creativity throughout the tape is impressive, showing his intended audience is of a higher brow. This mixtape has the formula for a good time; quality content, wordplay AND production. G.P.R. certainly opened my mind to “indie” and “underground” music. It was one of the first projects I heard with no glitz and glamour. Just straight up REAL SHIT I was dealing with.
“Startin’ in debt, it’s clear they robbin’ us
so it’s funny that our money says in God we trust
when it’s in man to keep the economy moving forward
companies maximizin’ profits by cuttin through the corners
and then they stock is droppin, there goes a few employers
to all my graduates of college i hope that you enjoy it”
– Current State
Frequently I listen to lectures and independent programs on media manipulation and news cycles. I had to double check the date on this mixtape because a number of the same topics from years ago seemed to had resurfaced with different details. For example, the oil spills and government shut down.
G.P.R. has an old school feel, not necessarily boom bap though. I feel like it’s the perfect balance of urban music and urban cultural expression. General is lead rapper of an (awesome!!!) funk band New Retro; this live music form is obviously an influence on his solo music. I feel like people who enjoy spoken word and jazz would gravitate towards his genre.
General raps about a little dilemma he has himself in the Outro, “they say i’m spittin’ like i’m 5 percenting but i’m Christian,” and again in Oil Spill “son of a pastor so, i guess i’m Heaven sent in this dark world, tryin’ to find my relevance until Heavens my residence.” He also references fusing hip-hop with Eastern Philosophies throughout the mixtape. His faith, intellect and being from Prince George’s County Maryland is very influential to his art.
This mixtape is as good as I thought it was; what’s even more evident to me this time around is General’s lyrical ability. It’s obvious he has knowledge of self and is aware of our skewed society, as explored in tracks like Oil Spill, Commercial Break 2, and my personal favorite Introspection Hour.
“I’m seeing signs of peeps that keep they mind runnin’ on E
I try to teach, but my advice they just don’t want to take heed, it’s all about the present
consistent momentary fixes have defined our presence
while we listenin’ to death under the guise of lessons
I swear it’s like a weapon”
– Introspection Hour
Thanks for reading!