Making good on a rep earned over a decade of performance prep, battle rap supremacy and membership in both the ill harmonics duo and the Deepspace 5 rap collective, conscious rap phenomenon Playdough is on-point for reconfiguring craniums to think for themselves with his impassioned second solo project, Don't Drink the Water (his first for 7SpinMusic/Sony/BMG in-stores October 17th, 2006).
Digging deeper for metaphors on cuts like "Ghetto Blaster" and "Daisy Proof" while the competition continues to pull out lame, profanity laced 's.o.s.,' Playdough molds his messages with a combination of authentic old school Hip Hop skills and an empathetic-to-the-planet sense of purpose. Playdough never places himself above the fray. Playdough's got his dukes up in the struggle right beside you. As you navigate through the treachery of life on Earth, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better brother ridin' shotgun.
The genesis of Don't Drink the Water lies in the first song Playdough composed for the album on his guitar (um...he's a musician, too). The song is called "The Difference" which set the tone and theme for the CD. The chorus reads, "They laugh at me `cuz I'm different / I laugh at them `cuz they're not / I got to follow somethin' that's different / Somethin' most ain't got." After finishing three more songs, he burned a CD to run by a friend with the rough title Don't Drink the Water. "It was a joke at first," Playdough says. "But the more I thought about it, it was a great metaphor for everything I was trying to say."
Playdough's path is a hard-earned life dichotomy that has not been easy to tread. "At some point, everyone wants to be part of the 'in' crowd," he muses, "then you get over it! I grew up in a small town where I was a super outcast. I was the only one in my school trying to do Hip Hop. I was the brunt of a lot of jokes." As time passed, Playdough found that this "difference" translated into a power of sorts. Parents saw me as a bad influence. It didn't matter that I was President of the Bible Club. They were not cool with my Hip Hop persona." Ever since, Playdough has struggled to get people to dig beneath the surface to discover the man inside. "I'm not dissing people for following trends. Just do things because you like them, not because others tell you you're supposed to like them."
Though his name was not intended as a tip of the hat to Plato, Playdough has more than a little philosopher in him. Beyond the slammin' brag funk of new tracks like "Dang" and "You Sound Funny" is the mental standout "Sandal Sole." "That's about the struggles I go through on the road," he shares. "From not getting any love from certain crowds to the hardships of saving money on a hotel by calling friends to see if I can crash on their couch. I also talk about my son... He was born premature, so when I say, 'I remember when my boy was taking just an ounce' I'm speaking on how we could only put a small amount of milk in his bottle `cuz he was so tiny. Now he's growing up but I miss a lot being on the road. There's a passage in The Bible where Jesus laments about a prophet not getting any honor in his own home. The disciples are upset over the lack of respect Jesus is getting, but he tells them, 'Wipe the dust off your sandals and go to the next town.' It's about not letting negativity get you down. That's why the negative things are in the verses, but the positive things come in the chorus."
Things haven't changed much financially for Playdough since he kicked the humorous "5 Cent Needleheads" on his debut album Lonely Superstar (2002), but he always manages to make enough to meet his needs. "Music is what I'm called to do," he reasons. "There's something deeper than money driving me to do this."
"Hip Hop has always been about self-expression," Playdough concludes. "I see myself as an emcee. Other emcees out here are Muslims. Some are Buddhists. I'm a Christian. Whatever you are, your life is gonna come out in your music. As long as I'm good at what I do, that's all that matters. If they respect me as an emcee, they'll respect my opinions on other things."
Mad props to Playdough - the malleable shape of Hip Hop minds to come.
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