I’m not one to champion hip hop and rap, but listening to The Winter’s End EP by Common Market (MySpace), it’s hard not to; fronted by RA Scion, this duo is not your typical for this genre. There are no bitches nor any hoes. And, thus, there aren’t any pimps with gold or racial profanity that so often taints and henceforth lessens a large portion of the genre. It is, however, seemingly typical for hip hop in the Pacific Northwest.
Perhaps one of the most endearing elements of the music Common Market makes is its inclusion of actual, real-life instruments. “Brasso” features what sounds like either a Baritone Horn or Tuba. Instrumental “The Picture Of My DeLorean Gray” champions what could very well be an electric accordion. This is my third listen in a row, and I continue to hear new elements, like the blaring trumpets hiding lightly in the background on the opener, and the precision percussion backing many of the songs.
Then there are the lyrics: opener “Nouveau Depart” is borderline religious, but Common Market spits out rhymes that make it honest and welcoming, rather than exclusionary or preachy. In fact, there are biblical references throughout the EP. There’s Moses in “Slow Down Moses” and the Fleur De Lis on the cover art.
And there’s the pagan reference in the title of “Escaping Arkham”; an obscure reference, Arkham, being the fictitious town found in many H.P Lovekraft tunes and modeled after Salem. Then again, it’s also the name of the asylum in Batman’s Gotham City.
However you look at it, Common Market is not your typical rap duo, and that’s what makes them and their music stand out. The Winter’s End EP, then, is not only for fans of the genre, it extends a welcome hand to others, like myself, who are newbies or those who often shun much of the genre for its oft degradation of women and promotion of lavish spending beyond means. No, these guys add wisdom and skill and actual musicianship.
There are others out there like them, and they too deserve recognition. But, for one just beginning to open the doors, Common Market is an excellent place to start.
The Winter’s End EP can be purchased via iTunes and other digital retailers on March 24.
Common Market: Escaping Arkham [mp3]
[audio:090327_common_market_-_escaping_arkham.mp3|titles=Escaping Arkham|artists=Common Market]
[Digital EP, 2009]
1. Nouveau Depart
2. Escaping Arkham
4. Slow Down Moses
5. The Picture Of My DeLorean Gray