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November 06, 1995 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-06

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 6, 1995


Gasoline Alley/MCA Records
In 1992 four Howard University
students released a debut album, "...
if i ever fall in love." The album
would eventually go double platinum;
yarious singles and remixes, would
also hit big.
Barely a year later, the group would
release "Right Back At Cha," a flop
self-cover CD. Finally, as quickly as
the hype began, it would end, and these
four Howard students returned to the
obscurity from which they had come.
Fast forward: 1995. Carl Martin,
Marc Gay, Garfield Bright and Darnell
Van Rensalier have returned. And if
you think that this group is the same
as the Shai of yesteryear, you have a
lot to learn.

The group's signature was its
humbleness. Remember Shai songs
like "Baby I'm Yours" and "Together
Forever?" Everything from verses like
"Baby I'm yours, if you want me" to
the group name (which, coincidently,
means "personification of destiny")
to the group's causal dress on the "...
if i ever fall in love" CD cover at-
tested to Shai's modest style. In
"Blackface," this "baby brother" atti-
tude has shown signs of receding, and
what has taken its place is a stronger,
more self-confident Shai.
What love songs like "Come with
Me," "During the Storm" and the first
single, "The Place Where You Be-
long" have that similar songs in "... if
i ever fall in love" lacked is more
lyrical backbone; this time the sing-
ers don't cringe vocally as if at any
moment the girl will start laughing

hysterically in their faces. While some
women will undoubtedly miss the
soulful innocence and youthful em-
barrassment Shai perpetuated, many
will welcome what the new Shai has
to offer.
What hasn't changed is the untouch-
able harmony Shai exuded back in '92.
From the upbeat ("Planet Solitude") to
the laid back ("I Don't Want to be
Alone"), these four brothas can take
anything and make it sound smooth.
But, this doesn't guarantee that
"Blackface" will be accepted as the
outstanding R&B CD it is. It's a rare
feat for an R&B group to simply
rematerialize and earn the same level
of popularity it once had. If anyone
deserves it, it's Shai. But we don't
always get what we deserve, now do
- Eugene Bowen

All Balls Don't Bounce
Aceyalone, a member of Freestyle
Fellowship, a barely recognized, highly
original West Coast rap group, has just
released his first solo album "All Balls
Don't Bounce."
Freestyle Fellowship is another ex-
ample of that unfortunate, rather pa-
thetic situation of creative mavericks
- way ahead of their time - not get-
ting the attention that they deserve,
because people are too lame to get it.
Well, this album further develops the
Freestyle Fellowship vibe, with pro-
lific lyricists who prove that their com-
plete control over language and music
is like no other.
Aceyalone has a verbal gift, a play-
ful tongue and an ingenious mind that

allows him to take words and with
them, perform linguistic gymnastics.
He takes the English language and
rebuilds it so that it has the rhythm
and rhyme that fits perfectly within
the texture of his music.
Aceyalone doesn't just break down
the barriers oflanguage format, but also
breaks down any past hip-hop formats^"
and formulas. This album has no fillers,
like shout-outs, intros, outros and skits.
It's just straight-up imaginative verses
and unorthodox beats.
"Arhythmaticulas" has such a liq-
uescent flow - with rolling lyrics and
swaying rhythms - that it carries the
listener, in a floating state, through the
ups and downs of this jazzy roller-
Aceyalone has a laid-back style and a
sense of humor and even when he does
get serious his word-plays are so ani-

mated that he never sounds too heavy
This album showers you with ti
delirium of Aceyalone's swift-pace
verbal spray, the sprinkles oftwinklir
xylophones, pulsating acoustic bas
beats and bizarre samples. Aceyalor
himself attests to the fact that ti
rhythms are twisted and unusual; i
"Arhythmaticulas," he says that "th
rhythm is sick, this rhythm's ridici
Aceyalone is truly a virtuoso, a
innovator who has created a style tha
can not be categorized. He says: "Me
I'd rather be undefined, not underes
timated nor undermined/ I'm unde
lined as the underdog under the influ
ence of time."
Hopefully, originality and intelligen
eccentricity won't be a curse fo
- Kimberly Hawn

r U

Continued from Page 5

ion show was presented. The premis
was that the fashions displayed embod
ied Indian influence, but this reviewe
had a difficult time making this connec
The show moved then to the state c
Punjab, which is known for its ic
crops. The dance typical of this state i
the Bhangra, which was used to cel
ebrate the harvest. Although a tradi
tional dance, Bhangra has a moderi
version which has become very popu
lar in the '80s and '90s, especially i
England and the U.S. The traditions
and the modern waves of Bhangra wer
performed with characteristic rhythri
movements ofthe hands and shoulder
A daring human pyramid at the en
brought this dance to an exciting coi
The last two traditional dances wet
Raas, from Gujarat, and a village fol
dance. In Raas, men and women mov
together in a circle with short sticks i
their hands, which are hit with differet
partners. This rendition of Raas ha
some very fancy footwork and well
timed movements which the audienc
enjoyed. The village dance portrayed
love story of a village girl bitten by
scorpion, whose sting could only b
relieved by her lover. The men in thi
dance had long sticks which were het
in pairs to open and closeaspace throug
which the women would step, makin
for a delightful display of timing An
The program concluded with a ver
interesting East meets West dance the
combined western ballet, Bharat
Natyam, Bhangra, and several othe
dances into one. It was fitting to clos
the program with a segment that em
bodied the true Indian-American, wh
is a blend of Indian and American cul
tures and embodies the best character
istics of each. Overall, the acoustics i
Hill Auditorium left something to b
desired, but the end result of the har
work and perseverance of the 300 or s
students who were involved with th
program more than made up for thai
The pride and enthusiasm displaye<
made the Indian cultural program


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