Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday Free-for-All # 20

A sudden surge in hip hop for kids warrants a review-a-thon!

Kat Vellos, Musiplication

Smooooooth math lessons via hip hop, thanks in great part to Batsauce, Jacksonville, Florida's underground beatmaster. Seattleite Kat Vellos and Britt Traynham (aka Batsauce) have created an album of very listenable tunes featuring the numbers one through ten. If you like production from the "dusty ol' record" school, or you like Digable Planets and Arrested Development, this disc is definitely for you and yours.

Various Artists, Hip-Hop Nursery Rhymes Collection, Vol. 1

Executive produced by DC Metro-based Ben Tynes, this CD presents classic nursery rhymes backed with spare, late'80s beats. Oldies like "Humpty Dumpty," "Old King Cole," "B-I-N-G-O," and "There Was an Old Lady" are given a funky fresh makeover. Check out the updated "Grand Duke of New York," which includes NYC locales like Brownsville and Sugar Hill in telling a young boy's success story.

Mark D. Pencil, Learning with Hip Hop

Atlanta, Georgia's Brett Schieber follows state curriculum standards to create an album full of songs about simple math and reading practice, following directions, physical exercises, and cleaning up the classroom. The CD starts off on a decidedly acoustic foot, then about track four, the beat drrrrops on "Numbers Help Me Count." Funky, fun, and perfect for the early elementary grades. Comes with downloadable lesson plans and coloring pages.

MeeWee, Hip-Hop for Kids

Co-created by NYC-based Daniel Klein and Perry Landesberg, MeeWee's message is all about empowerment, acceptance, friendship, and music. The CD features laid-back, R&B-flavored hip hop, a little A Tribe Called Quest-ish, a bit Parliament/Funkadelic-like. Dig "Planet Brooklyn," a tune that extols that borough's unique flavor. The album is currently available as an mp3 download only, but the MeeWee website includes lesson plans and lyrics. Nice feel-good hip hop for kids.

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