Late Review: No One Knows You EP by Shawn Chrystopher

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6 Mar 2011, 5:40

Although “No One Knows You” was made known in 2008, I’m still feeling the impression it made from our introduction last year. As the album that lead me to Shawn Chrystopher, the self admitted “Cornel West of the West”, it performs a heart transplant on a hip hop style that had earlier procedures done by The Neptunes, Kanye West, and Lupe Fiasco among many others. What aligns Chrystopher with them is his way he creates a persona that assumes the role of Superfly in the soundscape. What distances him from them is his other role as Saint Anthony in the soundscape. In either guise, he ensures that he shows up and shows off.

Lyrically, he is resourceful and well-steeped in the themes and styles of the last few decades of the genre. Assertive, he doesn’t have to be “the best of the rest”(Grizzey) but rather the best of himself in almost every track. The song “Flyer Than…” as a personal favorite despite being dressed in the same Hollywood couture of most radio hits, still makes the clothes feel good. But the sincerity of the of the album is in the tracks that serve as apologia to hip-hop itself.

As a love letter to the genre, “Dear Music” promises to rescue it from the cheapening pits of bullshit. “Grizzey” capitalizes on that sentiment, making another promise to the gimmies or the opportunists in the studio that he is “what was, what is, and what’s next.” Chrystopher stays on task in “Keep Your Classroom”. While still another pact, it is one Chrystopher made with himself as a playful testament to the skeptics that his book learning is in beat learning.

Simply said, “No One Knows You” showcases Chrystopher’s hip-hop ambitions that will most likely take him to the skies. His sound is familiar, but his style is distinct.Shawn ChrystopherNo One Knows You EP

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