April 02, 2022

Bahamadia "Kollage" (4/02/96)

Philadelphia's Bahamadia, best known for her previous work with Guru from Gang Starr, is a low-key MC; in "Total Wreck" she caps a man-stealing couplet with a sly "just kiddin'." Aside from an ode to young mothers and a backstage-freak critique that concludes (typically) "I'm not one to judge," sex and gender aren't part of this Kollage. Like Queen Latifah's All Hail The Queen, Bahamadia's debut ultilizes many crews and producers, though her chameleonic approach is the opposite of Latifah's command. Guru splices and loops piano and horns; The Roots serve them au natural. But lesser-known Da Beatminerz provide Kollage's most vibrant segments, "Spontaneity" (which mixes Dream Warrior's chimebience with shuddering strings) and "Innovation" (which name-checks Mork and Mr. Belvedere), both propelled by Bahamadia's freestyle skill. The main romance on this album is between Bahamadia and words, the pleasure of hip-hop lyricism--alliteration and internal rhymes, "mad explosive" metaphors and similes. Her flow can be slow and staccato or Roadrunner-fast ("Rugged Ruff cries out for a reward), but Bahamadia's calm tone always masks abundant humor. - Spin Magazine (May, 1996). AllMusic also shares, "Bahamadia's debut album, Kollage, is an underrated, jazzy affair paced by some nifty production and the MC's own dryly gentle delivery. Despite her laid-back, even deliberate flow, she has a confident, upfront presence on the mic, with strong rhyming skills and a fondness for old-school wordplay (as demonstrated on, naturally, "Wordplay"). Being a protégée of Gang Starr and a native of Philadelphia, she gets production help from the former's DJ Premier and Guru, as well as the latter's Roots. The music often recalls both of those artists, as well as the unassuming, low-key ambience of Digable Planets. But there's also often a dreamier quality than any of those groups, thanks to some spacey keyboards and fusion samples, and some R&B elements as well, most notably on the excellent single "I Confess." Other highlights include her two early singles, "Total Wreck" and "Uknowhowwedu," and the quietly shimmering "Spontaneity."" Revisit the LP today...

Bahamadia has one of the smoothest flows, this is a great LP.