Blue Collar

Studio Album by released in 2006
Blue Collar's tracklist:
Feel Free (intro) (feat. Q-Tip)
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Dynomite (Going Postal)
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Brand New (feat. Kanye West)
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Fever
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All I Do
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Get Down
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More (feat. Kanye West)
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Chicago-Rillas (feat. Mikkey & Bump J)
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Stick
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All Girls Cheat (feat. Mario)
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Devil's Pie
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Sister (feat. Mike Payne)
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Mr. Blue Collar (interlude) (feat. Malik Yusef)
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Bullet (feat. Citizen Cope)
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Tell a Story
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Build Me Up (feat. Ol' Dirty Bastard)
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Blue Collar review

Rhymefest’s brilliant debut

Che Smith also known as Rhymefest was born in the southern side of Chicago, Illinois in 1977. At the age of 15 studying at high school he got acquainted with Kanye West and since then the two guys have become close friends. Both of them started rapping early though from the very beginning the styles were different West’s being a bit arrogant while Smith had a good deal of sense of humor and adhered to ordinary people’s everyday life in his songs. In 2003 Rhymefest and Kanye West got a Grammy Award for their song Jesus Walks that caused much debate among the audience concerning whose contribution to the song was greater. Rhymefest refused to work on West’s label to prevent their friendship from ruining. Instead he signed a contract with Mark Ronson’s production company Allido and kept performing with Kanye as a featuring artist. Their latest single Brand New charting number 32 in the UK is included into Rhymefest brilliant debut album Blue Collar released this July. Kanye has taken part in a couple of tracks, and Rhymefest performs the core of the record with only a few songs being collaborations with other rappers. Blue Collar is on the whole a positive album telling about hard times Afro-American people have and how they cope with their problems.

All the songs on Blue Collar come from Rhymefest’s heart

The songs on Blue Collar are mainly different from each other but there is one feature uniting them – they all come from Rhymefest’s heart. The intro Feel Free performed with Q-Tip opens the album with great beats and the following Dynomite (Going Postal) continues the given rhythm adding some tougher elements to them. Kanye West’s voice is easily recognized on Brand New and More, another collaboration of two friends, which sounds really like a new hit. Fever is refined by a couple of Latin notes, while Chicago-Rillas featuring Mikkey & Bump J is a joyful up-tempo track. Among the most outstanding songs it is possible to name All Girls Cheat with the young rapper Mario and the politically oriented track Devil's Pie, based on The Strokes’ famous hit Someday. The problems of women having difficult children and hard jobs are touched upon on Sister, which sounds so melodious due to Mike Payne’s beautiful vocals. The melancholic rap Bullet featuring Citizen Cope is another bright number with varied rapping and unusual instrumental background. Rhymefest’s talent as a narrator is revealed on Tell A Story, a catchy song with a pleasant tempo. The final track Build Me Up with O.D.B. is a lively rap version of the Foundations’ song Build Me Up Buttercup.

Blue Collar is a great starting point

Rhymefest can be called a new hip-hop representative different from gangsta rappers and R&B club singers. The core component of all his songs is the question of hard times. The 28-year-old rapper was brought up by a poor single mother and still managed to resist the temptation of going most of his brothers’ way. In his songs Che Smith covers the topics of politics, war, unemployment, high rents, love and relations between men and women. There has long been waiting for a man from the crowd to appeal to the so-called working class with a necessary proportion of sense of humor and seriousness. Besides, Rhymefest has proved a good analyst and even a philosopher who clearly understands what is happening in the world today and who is behind it – ourselves (Devil’s Pie is the song to illustrate it). His voice sounds tough enough to make a quality rap and the lyrics are witty and thought provoking. Blue Collar is a great starting point for Che Smith and leaves no doubt that in spite of having many rappers as friends he is not influenced by any of them. The brilliant production adds to the record’s success as well as Rhymefest’s good looks and charisma. If you are looking for a fresh hip-hop album that would surprise with its novelty and a well-done sound Blue Collars is just the right one for you.