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A first listen to Spoke In Wordz's Beautiful Dead

Spoke In Wordz's latest effort, Beautiful Dead, comes at a time when celebrations of the dead are at their highest, split between Halloween and Día de los Muertos. Traditionally, this is the time when the spiritual veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. Spoke chose to commemorate this time with a new mixtape in which he reflects on the deaths he's experienced as well as the overall notion that hip-hop is dead. At the same time, he resurrects his original love for hip-hop and celebrates her beauty in all its reincarnations.

The project opens with a poem from Casey Whirl about music in its historic forms. From the origin of the spoken word through the eras of jazz, meandering through the early years of hip-hop, Beautiful Dead offers an accurate representation of hip-hop's different lives and faces, tinged with many personal reflections from Spoke's own story.

At his most vulnerable, he honestly relates the depression he endured after the deaths of his girlfriend, stepmother and grandmother, all within close proximity, and how music was most cathartic for his depression.

With production by Gyp Da Hyp, Sp Double, Coagulated Recycles, Stro of the Processions, Pete Cannon, Noel Zancanella, DJ Psycho, Es-Nine and Yonnas, Beautiful Dead features Casey Whirl, Infinite Mindz, Blame One, SP Double, Charlie Brand, DJ Chonz, Bobby Lefrebre, PunchLines, Fokis, DJ Psycho, Darien and Yonnas. Standout cuts include "End Game," "Hablame," with DJ Psycho, and the Es-Nine-produced title track.

Spoke on the themes of the Beautiful Dead:

"On February 24, 2005, my girlfriend, whom I was deeply in love with, passed away due to a brain aneurysm and left me traumatized for years. On May 24, 2008, my stepmother, who took care of us for over sixteen years, passed away. She died in a car accident, a head on collision with a semi. And on October 28, 2009, my grandmother passed away. All of these deaths damaged me in ways that I can never repair.

Today I find that I am still having issues letting go. So Beautiful Dead is based on my death experiences, including the death of hip-hop. Music was my only way to deal with my depression. The deaths in hip-hop. Such as 2 Pac, Notorious B.I.G, Big L, Big Punisher, grand master flash, Guru, have also hit me pretty hard considering that I found inspiration in these artists. They were the ones I looked up to when there was nowhere to turn. This album is based on life, hip-hop and politics, and how I dealt with my everyday struggles. By releasing this album, it will allow me to move forward and let go of the past.

So you will hear an old school hip-hop sound in the production of this album, as in "beautiful dead music." I believe that hip-hop is beautiful, because, to me, it represents, culture, people, love, peace and expression. Me, personally, I prefer old school over new school. So there's no commercial shit on this. If you don't like hip-hop, this album is not for you. Those of you who appreciate raw underground music, you will enjoy this record, because, as you know, this music is scarce. By sharing myself and my struggles with others, hopefully, they can relate. Feliz Día De Los Muertos."

- Spoke In Wordz



Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music


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