I'd be willing to bet that not a single one of you readers actually knows who Rashid Hadee is. If you do, kudos to you. If not, it's no big deal, because you're about to receive your introduction to one of the game's best producers. Actually, if you're a Little Brother fan, you probably have heard a Rashid Hadee beat. You know "Dreams," that absolute banger of a song off of Little Brother's Getback album? Yeah; he produced that. Starting to warm up to him a little bit?
Rashid Hadee is a member of the duo Chapter 13, the other member being Young Valentine. Together, they released a heck of an album in Nevermore's Asylum back in 2005. It garnered almost no recognition, not even from the underground, and it's sad, because it really was a great effort. However, that album pales in comparison to Hadee's solo debut, Dedication.
Rashid is very similar to 9th Wonder in terms of his production style, as he indulges in heavy sampling of soul records and uses similar drums to 9th to create that classic boom-bap sound. Because I have always been a sucker for boom-bap, I fell in love with Dedication immediately.
Dedication spans a total of 14 tracks, 12 of them produced by Rashid Hadee himself (the other two were done by Young Valentine and Melatone, respectively). Rashid does not limit himself to only making beats, though. He is also a very solid rapper, and he displays his lyrical prowess and steady flow on each of the songs on his debut solo record.
Keep in mind that Rashid Hadee also released a mixtape of the same name in 2005, but the tracklisting is significantly different. While it contains some of the same cuts from the actual Dedication album, the good majority of it differs tremendously. That said, you should check that out, too.
1. Dedication (Intro)
Yes, this is an actual song, and a damn good one at that. The beat is incredible, utilizing a continuous vocal sample surrounded by some banging drums. Also, Rashid Hadee demonstrates that he can spit, as well. This was just a tremendous way to set the tone for the album.
2. You Can't Hide
The first thing I noticed (and probably the first thing you will notice, too) about this track is that the kick drums bang, and I mean that in every sense of the word. If you listen to "You Can't Hide" in your ride, your whip will vibrate. A guest rapper named Augustine aids Rashid on the cut and certainly comes correct, but it's Rashid that kills this. Dedication is off to an outstanding start.
3. The Remembrance
Somehow, this album keeps getting better. Rashid Hadee's instrumental on this cut is nothing short of spectacular, as the drums are subtle enough to flawlessly complement the sample. As per the title, Hadee reminisces and wonders about his past and whether or not he could have done things differently. Great record.
4. Let Go
The hook on this record is infectious, and Rashid's beat definitely contains a club-banger feel, and his flow only adds to that notion. To be honest, "Let Go" is the weakest song on here so far, but that does not in any way mean it is bad, because, well, it's actually pretty good.
Alright; this is the best song on here thus far. Rashid once again does his thing on the boards, as the instrumental on "Surrender" is heavenly (and I think that's the first time on this blog that I used that word to describe a beat); the drums knock, the female vocal sample is just terrific, and you've also gotta love the Method Man sample on the hook. A rapper named Manov War is featured on this, and he holds his own.
I can see a lot of hip-hop heads gravitating toward this track, and while it's definitely nothing to scoff at, I just don't think it's on the same level as some of the best songs on Dedication. There is a slew of guest artists on this, as Augustine makes his second appearance on the album and Sincere and Skinny Kenny jump in with Rashid Hadee's Chapter 13 partner, Young Valentine. Hadee's beat doesn't really move me all that much, and the fact that "Pushers" is five-and-a-half-minutes long doesn't remedy anything. Again, though, I think it's the fact that the rest of this album is so good that makes this cut sound a bit inferior, because it really isn't that bad.
7. Six To Seven
The beat on this track sounds like something that could have been on Little Brother's The Listening album. It is extremely laid back, possessing a relaxed sample and some chill drums, making for some good bedtime music. The message on this cut is also great, as Rashid raps, "you've gotta, go through six to get to seven, you've gotta, go through hell to get to heaven" on the hook. I really dug this one.
8. Get U Outta My Head
"Get U Outta My Head" is one of two tracks on Dedication that was not produced by Rashid Hadee, as Young Valentine is behind the boards here (he drops a verse, too). Fortunately, there is no dropoff in quality at all, as the instrumental on this is pretty damn good (those drums are sick). As a matter of fact, this turned out to be one of my favorite records on the album. By now, it's pretty obvious that Hadee enjoys rapping about women, as he spends this cut talking about an ex-girlfriend that still haunts his mind.
9. All I Need You 2 Do
Drums, drums, drums. That's the best way to describe this banger. Rashid Hadee is back to make the beat here, and, as I'm sure you guessed from the first two sentences, he does not disappoint. He also goes in on the mic and rips up the instrumental along with Augustine and Khallee (who sounds a lot like my boy Skyzoo), all three of whom adjust their delivery to match the production, and it works wonders.
This is the best song on the album. Once again, Rashid Hadee turns his attention to a female and raps about how he is, um, addicted to her even though he knows she is wrong for him. His production is outstanding and matches the mood of the content perfectly, and the hook is exceedingly catchy. Love this.
11. Missing Pieces
Remember when I said that "Six To Seven" sounded like it belonged on The Listening? Well, "Missing Pieces" takes that to another level. You would think 9th Wonder himself was on the boards for this one. On the track, Rashid pays homage to those whom he's lost and how they are now the missing pieces in the puzzle that represents his life. Nice record.
12. The Xpressway
Now this sounds like something that would have been on The Minstrel Show, Little Brother's second album, and the funny thing is Rashid Hadee didn't even produce this; Melatone did. Anyway, this song is really good. The instrumental is as smooth as an instrumental could possibly get, and Rashid is able to go in on it without restraint. The outstanding tracks continue.
13. Plannin' For Tomorrow
For the first time on this album, I'm gonna come with a meh. I just wasn't feeling this track one bit.
14. Mercury Retrograde
Now this was just phenomenal and erased any loss of momentum that "Plannin' For Tomorow" may have caused. Also, sorry for bringing this up again, but I have to state that "Mercury Retrograde" is yet another song off of Dedication that sounded like it could have been on The Listening. Rashid Hadee uses the vocal sample perfectly, and the light piano hits and drums complement it unbelievably well. What a way to close out what was an incredible album.
I'm sure you can already tell how much I love Dedication, but if not, I'll tell you right now: it's ill. Rashid Hadee is a tremendously talented producer and is also a heck of an emcee to boot. His debut album epitomizes what boom-bap should sound like and legitimately rivals anything 9th Wonder has done, and that is coming from a huge 9th fan.
Clearly, the best part about Dedication is its lack of weak tracks. There is only one song on here that I skip ("Plannin' For Tomorrow"), and I'm sure a very sizeable portion of other listeners will actually enjoy that cut. The rest of the project is simply amazing in every aspect, from the hypnotizing production to the great rapping to the consistent theme.
If you are a big 9th Wonder or Khrysis fan, then you will love Dedication. Also, if you gave The Left's Gas Mask a listen and enjoyed it, then I don't see any reason why you won't like this album, either. It's just an incredible effort on all fronts, as Rashid Hadee essentially created a 14-headed monster.
I really don't know how this album flew under the radar, especially when there is a significantly large faction that really digs the whole boom-bap scene. I'm going to assume that Rashid did not promote his debut at all, as I'm almost positive that one single from Dedication would have sent 9th Wonder fans flocking to pick it up. It's that good.
So, if you're a fan of, oh, I don't know, Little Brother, and you want to broaden your boom-bap horizons a little bit, give Dedication a listen. It will be well-worth your while and will likely end up in your rotation for the long run.
TOP FIVE TRACKS
3. Dedication (Intro)
4. Mercury Retrograde
5. All I Need You 2 Do