A year ago, it would have been notable to hear the kind of harmonically advanced modern jazz that had been for the most part ignored by mainstream rap artists for the last 20 years.
That was before March, when Kendrick Lamar released his genre broadening multi-Grammy nominated "To Pimp A Butterfly," already selected by Rolling Stone as Album of the Year, and made it modern again for MCs to rhyme over straight ahead jazz, or jazz fusion. With powerful assistance from his frequent and brilliant collaborators like Thundercat, Anna Wise and Flying Lotus, Kendrick and company changed the game and brought musical innovation and political awareness back to hip-hop in a major way, remaking the genre in their own image, while opening the door for other artists with something to say.
In light of this fact, the McCoy Tyner-sounding riff on "iiF" the latest single released Wednesday by Innovator, a semi-finalist on the fourth season of the rap competition "Show Me The Money," (broadcast on South Korean television last summer) and Scary P of the group High Flies, is not as bold an artistic statement as it would have been a year ago. But it is a powerful and creative beat nonetheless, with two artists with clear bone fide hip-hop credentials.
The aforementioned piano line is matched with a beat that, while not far from the classic boom bap, takes an interesting rhythmic approach, matched with machine gun rapping that also evokes the musicality of Mr. Lemar.
That's not to say that's all that's happening on "iiF." Shades of Eminem, Jay Z and Kanye West's feel good production and eclectic mix of live and lifted samples are all in the mix, but these two artists are clearly looking to bring something new to the table as well.
And though the hook of "iiF" may consist of cursing the "critics and you haters," this critic is definitely not also the latter. And this track has a power, augmented with the gospel-inspired ending vocals, that makes it worth overlooking the pedestrian blow offs. There's something here worth experiencing.
Listen to the new song "iiF" from 'Show Me The Money 4' semi-finalist Innovator and Scary P of the Korean hip-hop group High Flies RIGHT HERE