Pumpkinhead - Orange Moon Over Brooklyn
Pumpkinhead - Orange Moon Over Brooklyn
(CD) Soulspasm, 2005-08-23
01. Alkaline N Acid (Feat Raiden) 02:18
02. Autthentic (Feat DV Alias Khryst) 03:56
03. I Just Wanna Rhyme 5:47
04. Trifactor (Feat Supastition & Wordsworth) 03:45
05. Grenades 2:36
06. DP One Interlude 0:30
07. Rock On 4:41
08. Anything 6:22
09. Swordfish (Feat Archrival) 03:09
10. Emcee 3:12
11. Jukebox 4:12
12. The Best 3:13
13. Monkey Shine (Feat The Plague) 05:07
14. Here 3:44
15. Anthem For The End Of The World (Feat Jean Grae & Chas) 05:28
Longevity in the rap game is virtually unheard of these days. Every year, hundreds of rappers drop albums, but only a fraction will reap the success of their craft in the coming years.
Brooklyn MC, Pumpkinhead, long heralded as one of the most talented of New York's subterranean circle, is one of those MCs. Indeed, the Park Slope native has been spitting in street corner ciphers since hip-hop's golden era during the early nineties and cut his teeth on New York's competitive streets alongside such notable artists such as Rahzel, Supernatural, Medina Green and Jean Grae-even building with Tupac before the rapper's untimely death.
More than anything, Pumpkinhead has been a stalwart fixture in New York City hip-hop for over a decade not because of who he's traded verses with but because of his propensity to hurl his uniquely clever wordplay through concerts, albums and battles.
Now, on the heels of a nationwide tour with long-time friend and female wordsmith Jean Grae, Pumpkinhead drops his eagerly awaited LP, Orange Moon Over Brookyln-a mesmerizingly consistent collection of innovative and reflective rhymes, backed by melodic, neck-snapping beats.
But it was back in 1986 that Pumpkinhead first began his career in hip-hop b-boying with a local Brooklyn crew.
"The name Pumpkinhead was given to my by my mother when I was six," he chuckles about his unique moniker. "I guess it was because I was so hardheaded!"
After hearing Dana Dane's classic, "Nightmares," Pumpkinhead turned his attention to writing.
"Soon, I was writing poetry and the poetry turned into rhymes and then I started battling in ciphers, and making promo tapes" for Stretch Armstrong and Bobitto's weekly WKCR Radio show.
After an invitation by storied New York dj, Bobitto Garcia, Pumpkinhead found himself performing shows at the legendary Nuyorican Café on New York's lower eastside.
"It was like training for me," he reflects. "I would be on stage and then out walking around in the Village, rapping in ciphers with Supernatural and Rahzel."
During that special time, Pumpkinhead says, rapping was more fun than anythingelse, and the culture in New York was conducive to peaceful battling, where one's skills, rather than violence, would determine the outcome.
"Rappers in New York during that time would just start rhyming together in a cipher," he says. "It was more about the love for the culture than the need to beat somebody down, lyrically or physically."
Pumpkinhead's skills though-a sharp, witty delivery overflowing with off-kilter rhymes and ingenious punch lines-earned him the respect of his peers and spawned a growing fan base. After signing with Makin' Records imprint and linking with Grand Puba's cousin, who began managing the young, aspiring rapper, Pumpkinhead released his debut single, "Dynamic" in 1996 which soared to the top of every imaginable chart. The track was produced by Jean Grae and featured an obscure Charles Mingus sample which had heads clamoring for more from thefresh-faced rapper (the b-side featured the song with the Mingus sample in reverse, which further impressed critics and fans).
Fresh off the success of Dynamic, Pumpkinhead released Old Testament, a riveting compilation of music he'd not yet released and old songs his fans were familiar with. Soon after Old Testament, Pumpkinhead dropped the EP, A Beautiful Mind, an array of battle-rap genre songs, which further strengthened Pumpkinhead's rising stock.
And while the albums didn't do well commercially due to lack of promotion, both helped solidify his reputation as one of the more talented underground rappers to emerge from New York City in a long minute.
Determined to prove wrong the nay-sayers who thought he wasn't capable of complete LP, Pumpkinhead signed to Soulspazm Records, and began working on a new album, with beats from producer Marco Polo.
"My new album definitely differs from people's view of me as a battle rapper, or whatever they wanna call it," he says of his latest work. "This album is more reflective. It's about family and friends and definitely more of a well-rounded hip-hop album to me. I made sure that the rhymes are not just for my peoples in the streets but for everyone to related to-your average nerd, backpacker, whomever."
"Authentic," is a perfect representation of that mindset, and is, in the words of Pumpkinhead about:"staying true to hip-hop" and is replete with shout-outs and scratches. "Trifecta" is every lyrically conscious rapper's dream, as it features Supastition and Wordsworth, trading pure, unabashed battle rhymes over a bass-heavy beat.
"I feel like wanted to pick some of the best MCs out there who are not just known for their rhymes but also known for their witty one-liners," notes Pumpkinhead.
Perhaps the most powerful and meaningful track for Pumpkinhead is "Rock On" on which he maps out his entire career and shouts out all the people he's encountered along the way.
No doubt, such an attitude has been Pumpkinhead's calling card since those early days b-boying in Brooklyn. It's something that's stayed with him and inspired the rapper to keep spitting his rhymes for the love of the only culture he's ever truly known. Says Pumpkinhead, "I gotta a lot of people calling me one-dimensional, and my goal is to prove them wrong. I hope this album stops a lot of that hatred. I'm 29 years-old. The way I see it, I got a lot of years ahead of me even though I'm already a mainstay. As far, as I'm concerned this is just the beginning."