Let me cut to the chase before I start my mini rant of a review. Cake is a good track. The double feature video is “meh”. The AlliYance is Dope.
So let me begin. When it comes to LGBT rap artist, Cypher Avenue doesn’t just promote and include just for the sake of inclusion. We high-light artists we genuinely enjoy and can see ourselves head-nodding to with our headphones on or bump’n in our cars. There have been a handful of LGBT artists in the last five years (excluding our Best of 2014 list) that we have exclusively featured. It just so happens one of those artist (EarthTone) is a member of the rap group The AlliYance; founded by DJ and producer Swanny River. In a nutshell; if I’m writing about you, most likely it’s because I’m digging you. So my criticism is coming from a sincere place. I don’t operate from a place of “reading” or “throwing shade”.
Being that The AlliYance’s first track and video for Sugar Water was a throwback to The Firm’s main single Phone Tap. I’m sure The AlliYance wouldn’t mind being referred to as a gay version of The Firm; a 90’s rap group featuring Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown and Carmega. However; to only refer to them as an “LGBT” version of The Firm is somewhat of a disservice, even if the optics says otherwise.
Swanny is unmistakably a great producer, this nigga got beats for days and each MC of The AlliYance can spit lyrics. What has me in a bit of a rant mode is that collectively, both videos for Sugar Water and Cake (at the time of this posting) have less than 2000 YouTube views…Huh? Everyone should know that YouTube isn’t just for viewing moving live action recorded video. There are hundreds of thousands of “videos” on YouTube for songs that don’t feature moving live action but just a photo or still image. Many people go to YouTube to just listen to music and musical play lists. So why the low views on these two dope tracks by The AlliYance?
Unfortunately with any marginalized minority group, we have to show and prove “we’re just as good as or better than” our heterosexual counter parts. As far as the videos for both tracks, I understand that finances, resources and dominate societal attitudes can potentially impact or hinder growth with LGBT focused music and films; especially if they are from artist of color or feature a cast of color. That’s not an excuse but just reality. Cypher Avenue suffers from the same dilemma.
Could it be because these dudes aren’t gimmicky, take their lyricism seriously and their imagery isn’t dripping with over sexualized male flesh or salaciousness, their LGBT media footprint doesn’t have much of an impact? Also could it be that if you’re a rap hip-hop LGBT artist, you’re expected to sell sex for recognition, subscribers and views? I think hip hop heads can recognize and understand the talents of The AlliYance but I just wish that recognition manifested into views, promotion, mentions and dollars.
Even though I may not be impressed with the video for Cake, the video for Sugar Water was just as simplistic but in my opinion was more enjoyable. Cake; nonetheless has more views and I wonder if that’s because of the sexual slang implementations of the term “Cake”?
The audible track for Cake definitely surpasses the double feature video. Both versions are fun with the second being better than the first. The second half of the video reminded me of The Roots’ 1996 What They Do with its captions for some rudimentary scenery that’s shown throughout rap videos of that time.
A part of me felt that maybe The AlliYance should focus less on being a throwback to 90’s hip hop artists or paying homage to that era but instead, focus on being the best The AlliYance they can be for 2016. Then I thought about how would that be possible if this is what influenced you (the artists) and this is what you grew up on? If I was a rapper, 90s hip hop would be my muse. The 90s is when Hip Hop arrived to shape and influence music on a global scale. This era changed the musical landscape.
I know this is the primary reason I can listen to and enjoy The AlliYance is because they don’t sound like a gay gimmick using hip hop to further their personal brands for “likes”, shares and recognition via social media. It’s because regardless of sexuality, the members of The AlliYance are hip hop and they embody its golden age when hip hop transcended into mainstream, while still having underground status and elements.
So maybe fuck my rant. To The AlliYance keep doing you. If the music stays exactly how it is right now, I’ll enjoy it and promote it and you.
You can preview and download the mix tape The Prequel here. This is to wet the pallet for the upcoming The AlliYance’s EP dropping soon. The Prequel is a good mix tape and I encourage LGBT DJ’s to play the club bangers from the mix tape and the EP in the club.
Side note and FYI; I had a pseudo viewing party for the Best LGBT Videos of 2014 and kats were shocked and amazed not only at the talent of the artists but for the visuals of the videos. I created fans that night for LGBT hip hop music.
Also check out On The Way Up. Again The AlliYance’s full talents are on display with this dope track.