Wednesday, April 30, 2008

***Secret Agent 23 Skidoo***

Asheville, North Carolina's thriving indiehop scene has given birth to what may be the finest example of "Kid Hop" to date. Hey, this isn't some joker reciting poetry over a Casio keyboard beat, nor is it a soulless cut-and-paste project by an intern at a corporate megaconglomeration kiddie entertainment entity. Joel Sullivan, aka Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, aka 23 Skidoo, aka Cactus, aka Agent 23, has been at the hip hop game for a decade now, and after creating several projects under the Granola Funk umbrella, he's written and produced a brilliant collection of hip hop songs for kids and their grownups. Easy is easily in the top ten kids' albums of 2008!

Tunes about imagination, curiosity, friends and family, and self-confidence, interspersed with tales of dragons, mermaids, and a musical grasshopper, are set to organic grooves and truly head bobbin' beats. These are great songs that celebrate the joy of life while addressing the importance of determination, creativity, and exploration. Three of the tunes on Easy, "Gotta Be Me", "Luck", and "Family Tree", are of chart-topping quality (hey, "Luck" already hit #1 on XMKids!), but the whole family will dig repeated listenings of the entire CD. Oh, and pair the song "The Bluegrasshopper" with Leo Lionni's picture book Frederick, a similar tale of initially misunderstood and underappreciated talent.

One of the coolest things about Easy is that so many Asheville musicians and bands lend a helping hand: Listen for appearances by Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band, Granola Funk Express, Caroline Pond, Jason Krekel of the Mad Tea Party, and Strut; and admire the playfully spacy album artwork by Athens, GA-based David Hale. This is a community project, and 23 Skidoo is steering the vehicle. He also gets assistance from his daughter Saki on "Family Tree", where she trades rhymes like a pro. In fact, check out the video below for a live performance of the song. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's Easy is yet another example of a dad being inspired to be as creative in the arena of children's music as he is in the grownup world.

"Family Tree"

1 comment: said...

Pretty effective piece of writing, thanks for the post.