Just before Katrina in 2005, I began teaching a class that helps kids K – 8 improve their literacy by writing rap songs (see video at bottom). I’ve taught the class ever since, and my students’ debut album was written about here in the New York Times. The kids also intermittently pen reviews of local albums which are published in OffBeat, Gambit Weekly, AntiGravity, and any other publication that will pay them for their work. The first in this series of album reviews — published in OffBeat just before the flood — is still the best of them all. Here are two of the better reviews:
The Bongoloids: The Awful Art of the Bongoloids
“The beat starts off good, then I don’t know what happened. The first song is instrumental. The music is so weird. It gives me the bubbleguts. Number 4 sounds like you are camping. I hear electric guitar. The cymbals are the main instrument in track number 9. Then number 12 has a whole new theme. They had to be drunk when they recorded this album. I give the Bongoloids a 4 out of 5.”
The Other Planets: Eight Balls in Angola
“The lyrics sound stupid. White people listen to this music. I would do this song over. It reminds me of the Temptations. I don’t like this music because it’s for white people.”
Those two reviews are part of a really great extended piece that you can READ BY CLICKING HERE.
And here is another of my students’ videos for an original song called “Sleep Rappin'”: