What’s the first thing comes to mind when you associate the color green with Hip-Hop? Obviously marijuana and money would be the first (and only) things to ring bells. Looking to bring some balance within the genre, West Coast underground veteran Phil The Agony is encouraging us to Think Green. Not just the sticky green either, environmentally green as well. Flanked by his Strong Arm Steady & Blacksmith cohorts, Phil looks to permanently alter your way of thinking for the better.
On the title track, Talib Kweli drops by as the two emcees trade quips and factoids about saving the environment over mellow barrage of keyboard chords and runs. The laid back vibe keeps them from sounding too preachy and is a welcome change of pace. But outside of a few skits he leaves the environmental bit alone. Songs like “Stick Together” and the Jack Spades-produced “Family History” keep creativity at a high level without dwelling into cliché topics. The latter, featuring Planet Asia & Chace Infinite, boasts the most confusing time line since “No More Fun And Games” as the trio reflect on their predecessors sacrifices to put them in the position they’re in today.
Outside of Green Party gatherings, its business as usual as hemp and the West Coast lifestyle are the prevalent themes. Multi-song contributors Krondon, Planet Asia & Talib Kweli help shoulder the load from Phil. This works not only because of their existant chemistry, but also because it gives the album more of a compilation feel than a solo album. Good music is good music regardless of the line-up and joints like “Hunters” featuring Krondon and Talib Kweli do a great job of proving this. The trio demolishes the silky piano sample as they play on the hood/jungle analogy.
If your looking for a blueprint to save the planet, then look elsewhere. However, if your a fan of straight Hip-Hop with few frills or gimmicks, this is for you. Phil The Agony combines the best elements of both coasts on this one, as witty lyrics are dispensed over a variety of beats. There are a ton of good songs on Think Green, yet nothing that sets itself apart from the rest. Ask five or six different people what their favorite song is and your liable to get a different song from each person. Which is great, but that knock-out, sure-fire song would go a long way for it to garner attention outside of his current fan base.