The late 2000s were full of hip-hop albums that were loud, aggressive, and in-your-face most of the time but contained one or two tracks that -- in contrast to the rest of the album -- had a reflective, wistful tone. The Whole Woo Wop, however, is dominated by tunes that are reflective and wistful. Bay Area rapper Kenyan Hopkins, aka K-Maxx, doesn't devote his energy to rhyming about sucker MCs or bragging about how many gold chains he owns or how expensive the car he drives is. Most of the songs on this 2009 release reflect on the challenges of life in the hood, but he doesn't get into gangsta rap at all. K-Maxx rhymes about all the things he sees in the inner city -- drug dealing, poverty, high unemployment, young soldiers coming back from the Iraq War only to encounter a different type of war zone at home -- and he does it in a way that, again, is reflective and wistful. Not all of the tunes deal with social issues, but most of them do.
At the same time, The Whole Woo Wop isn't an album of angry protest songs in the way that Public Enemy, KRS-1, 2 Black 2 Strong, and Paris have been masters of angry protest songs. The Whole Woo Wop, in fact, is more melancholy than it is angry. K-Maxx's material isn't groundbreaking; MCs were rapping about life in the hood as far back as 1982, when Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five recorded their seminal classic "The Message" (a gem that paved the way for so many of the great sociopolitical raps that Run-D.M.C., Ice-T, Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, Ice Cube, and others came out with in the '80s and '90s). But it's certainly an enjoyable and worthwhile effort from this Bay Area MC.
|Intro / K-Maxx||K-Maxx||0:33|
|The Price / K-Maxx||K-Maxx||3:31|
|Recipe / K-Maxx||K-Maxx||3:38|
|What They Claim / K-Maxx / Young Skitz||K-Maxx||3:57|
|Docta / K-Maxx / Andre Nickatina||K-Maxx||3:27|
|This One / K-Maxx||K-Maxx||1:57|
|Life Is Love (Yola) / K-Maxx / Fed X||K-Maxx||4:31|
|Til' Then / Zumbi of Zion I / K-Maxx||K-Maxx||4:35|
|Yesterday / K-Maxx||K-Maxx||4:57|
|Supadrunk / K-Maxx||K-Maxx||4:39|
|Sessual / K-Maxx||K-Maxx||2:32|
|Let Em Play / K-Maxx / Mano Negra||K-Maxx||3:37|
|Betta Days / K-Maxx||K-Maxx||3:43|
|Last Verse / K-Maxx||K-Maxx||4:04|