In response to recent shootings in Seattle, Blue Scholars decided to put together a track which speaks on the situation, calling for a bit of wisdom and help in the form of “May Day”. The song originated from a track Geo (a/k/a Prometheus Brown) did as part of a musical editorial he put together for the Seattle Times. That video brought back some positive feedback (along with the usual news website stupidity that often shows up in comments sections), enough to where Geo decided to put together a studio version of it with a beat from Sabzi‘s library, and here it is.
I have to say something here. In the early days when Blue Scholars used to post around on various boards, they showed how much they were doing to shed light on hip-hop from Seattle. All this time I didn’t know that Geologic had roots in Hawai’i. He sounded like he had the accent, I felt it, hell I knew it but it had taken me three years to discover this fact?
I mention this because with their new deal with Duck Down, they’re calling their new EP OOF! and were about to go on tour in Hawai’i for it. I was thinking “oh shit, these guys are going to be laughed at for calling their EP OOF!, that’s not going to go down too well.” When you’re raised in Hawai’i, you tend to discover the profanities of the ethnicities so that if you’re within ear range of someone cursing you out, you’ll know if they’re talking stink to you or not. OOF! is a variation of the Samoan word “ufa” (ooh-fa), which is pretty much saying “fuck you” (or “ufa mea”). Now if you want to get more raw, you as a man can step up to a lady and go “wow tita, you like uf or wot?” In other words, “hello my lady, would you like to have sex or something?” Or to be more blunt, “wow, you like fuck?”
Thus, calling your EP OOF! would have been hazarous, but now that I know Geologic has some roots in Hawai’i Nei, then I know he’s being clever for the sake of being clever and also understanding what it’s about. In fact, the OOF! EP is all about the other side of Hawai’i that isn’t promoted by the tourist industry, the Hawai’i that I know very well. People on the outside may know Honolulu and Waikiki, and of course Maui. But how about Wahiawa, Kaliki, Makiki, Pauoa, Nu’uanu, Nanakuli, Kahuku, Waianae, Waipahu, and Ewa Beach? They may look like little dots on an Oahu map, but they are smell sections of the island that is my home, little areas that are like individual neighborhoods, each with its sense of quirks, tastes, and people. This is the Hawai’i that Blue Scholars take to heart, and it will be great to hear what they were able to do with it.
Basically, it’s a Hawai’i that some don’t want you to see or hear about, to the point where some local people are embarrassed to say it’s the Hawai’i they live in. Ten years ago, I did an album called Without Breath where I talked about my hopes, fears, and dreams of returning home to the place I still hold dear. For Geologic, along with DJ/producer Sabzi, it’s the same thing.
This EP, along with their Duck Duck deal, will no doubt bring them to the forefront not only as Seattle artists, but as hip-hop artists ready to make a bigger impact on the marketplace. Will this also help shine the light on Hawai’i’s vast hip-hop scene? Perhaps indirectly it will also show the brotherhood of Pacific Islanders and their love of music, creativity, and community. OOF! indeed, faka, you like beef? Shoots, we go t’row blows in da Tamashiro pahking lot.
(Until the EP is released later this month, you can download a track from it for free by clicking to BlueScholars.com.)