White Boiz, the collaborative project between Strong Arm Steady‘s MC Krondon and Sa-Ra collective’s producer Shafiq Husayn can trace its origins to rather humble beginnings — mutual admiration: Krondon would show up to Sa-Ra performances unannounced with “something good to puff on and good conversation and good vibrations,” Husayn recalled in press notes. Back in 2011, around the time of Krondon’s birthday, the project began in earnest as the duo of Husayn and Krondon started a year and a half conversation on a number of subjects that concerned the both of them, including race and the state of blackness in White America managed to put them on the same page mentally, and the duo began working together on each one’s individual, solo projects.
Their debut effort as White Boiz, Neighborhood Wonderful is slated for an October 2 release through Stones Throw Records, and it reportedly draws deeply from Krondon’s and Husayn’s conversations, as well as those of everyday hustlers, ghetto fighters, revolutionaries and countless other figures and essentially sets those conversations to music. And from the album’s first single “Mothership Intro,” the duo’s material balances a difficult tightrope between Afrocentrism, Blaxploitation, deathly seriousness and biting satire, in an attempt to explore the dualities of the lives and neighborhoods that have so deeply inspired hip-hop and its culture. “At the same time, everything in the neighborhood—as bad as it is, and as fucked up as it is—we’re taking responsibility for that and we’re learning it’s just as wonderful as it is wicked,” Krondon explains. “We’re telling stories and presenting concepts based off of that, such as single motherhood to drug addiction to wrongful conviction to ignorance…ignorance on all levels.”
Sonically, “Mothership Intro” pairs a looped, woozy, old school, horn-led sample, with cymbal-led percussion with Krondon’s characteristically rapid-fire, slightly nasal, baritone flow to craft a song that’s politically charged but deeply referential and ironic as hell — all while being surreal and simultaneously funky. And although mainstream hip-hop has responded to the issues of our day in fits in starts, it’s been the genre’s independent artists who have been at the forefront of our most urgent, political thought.
The official video is shot in a cinematic black and white and feature the duo of Krondon and Husayn dressed as though they were in the National of Islam, walking around the hood. It’s trippy and yet absolutely fitting.