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Pop & Hiss Premiere: The 'Scriptures' of Co$$

July 1, 2011 |  8:00 am

01tr396-080-300dpi-1200x1200 For a genre heavy on defying authority, rap has a unusual amount of songs in favor of religion. Kanye West might have claimed that no one wanted him to write "Jesus Walks," but the last few decades of hip-hop have seen their full share of artists espousing devotion: from the spiritual mumbo jumbo of Wu-Tang affiliate Killah Priest's "B.I.B.L.E." to MC Hammer and Run from Run-DMC becoming ministers, to the liner notes of practically every rap record thanking "God" first.

The last year-plus has seen artists increasingly voicing their atheism or agnosticism. From Odd Future's ersatz devil worship to Open Mike Eagle's cynical repudiation of organized religion, to Leimert Park's Co$$, the subterranean is seeing a surfeit of rappers full of questions.

Premiering today on Pop & Hiss, "Scriptures" finds the Tres Records-signed rapper (for his background, see past posts) taking listeners down the wandering roads of his spiritual faith. He considers Allah, Christ, Buddha, Zeus, and the gods of the Hindu religion in search of solid ground. He knows that if "he doesn't grow, he doesn't evolve," and that "the time that he's given isn't his," but he seems unable to reconcile that with his doubts and curiosity.

A song that could be corny or leaden is instead a powerful meditation on faith and the lack thereof. He rejects organized religion and finds "false superstition." An intelligent and searing examination of the thoughts that rattle around in everyone's head, Co$$' "Scriptures" is another example of why Cashus King is one of the city's finest artists.

Download: (Pop & Hiss Premiere): Co$$ - "Scriptures" [MP3]

If you're one of those people who thinks that hip-hop peaked somewhere between "Low End Theory" and "Midnight Marauders," his official debut, this month's "Before I Awoke" is a refreshing reminder of the genre's enduring dynamism. In celebration of the album release, he's performing Saturday at Boombox (held at the Grand Star Jazz Club in Chinatown), and Wednesday at the Broadway Bar downtown (Blu will also be there for a DJ set).

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-- Jeff Weiss

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