Jelani Lateef - Reminds us it's OK to Feel Good

It's been a while since hip hop has incorporated the word "well-dressed gentleman" into its vernacular. Not since Common, Nas, OutKast or that lovable gnomish negro that is Mos Def  has there even be a slight re-emergence of what was once was called "conscious lyrics" or "neo-soul," and anything remotely toe-tapping or dance-move worthy. As the high-countess of rap once warned us; "Big Daddy Cane and Public Enemy, Salt 'n' Pepper… Most of them artists used to dance and still get respected In the street, don't be scared to Bankhead or Ballgoller."Oh how right you were Ms Elliot. But thankfully Jelani Lateef's seems to be heeding her advice and plans to make a few needed changes to the current Hip Hop horizon. He's a rare breed of street and cultured, classy but still cool. His mission seems almost created for those that have forgotten, or are merely too young to remember, that rap music was once a positive guiding force. He prefers to rap about "protecting" his female family members rather than punishing them, because women in Jelani's world "sleep tight" as opposed to getting their "throats slit."

Fueled by a relentless DIY spirit (due both in equal parts for nostalgia and necessity), which he proudly incorporates into the style of his videos and promos. And his recently released album, My Soul To Keep 2, he could single-handedly bring back "old school, feel good rhymes" to a national stage. Perfectly comfortable wearing his heart on his sleeve, and using witty intelligence in equal measure to beats, in his style of storytelling. The track In the Game Now has a trumpet and strings section, that's feels very Motown-y. And just to revert back to the gospel according to Missy for one last time, "You know if you wanna be hard and ice grilled. An' Harlem shake at the same time, whatever, let's just have fun! Its hip hop man, this is hip hop!" So to the million dollar, mansion-living MCs, and those who have favored more brazen displays of particularly low-brow misogyny in the past (Bizarre's WTF lines from Eminem's Amityville immediately come to mind). Take into account that Jelani brings his positive vibes (not from the lap of luxury) but from a city that s more notable for murder right now, than music. In other words to MC and rapper relying on shock tactics, what's your excuse?

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