Lateef has a whole lot of love to give.
Lateef The Truthspeaker is all about the love, and after almost 20 years as a collaborator, contributor and partner in rhyme, Lateef has a whole lot of love to give. Love for the underground hip hop scene that as a part of the Solesides and Quannum collectives he has given so much to; love for the San Francisco Bay area that he channels through the clipped I's, drawn out A's and louche dialect that sets that branch of hip hop's family tree apart; and, of course, love for the ladies.
Firewire showcases the energy and versatility of an emcee and singer who rattles through hip hop, soul and electro-pop without pause or cause to doubt himself. Oakland has Lateef lining up with Del and The Grouch to pay tribute to “One of the few cities Bloods and Crips couldn't crack”. We The People is a stampede of bass, soul claps and affirmations. Even the obligatory slow jam (So Sexy) that so often feels like a contractual obligation on lesser albums pops with neo-soul dynamism. Throw in production credits from Dan The Automator, Blackalicious' Chief Xcel and DJ Shadow, and the whole album has a richness and depth of sound that inflates and elevates it like a hot air balloon, with Lateef breathing fire into track after track.
The confidence and familiar voice might have even longtime fans double-checking that this really is Lateef's debut solo album. “I don't wanna be lonely/I just wanna be left alone” goes the chorus on Left Alone. Firewire shows that, left to his own devices, Lateef will shine.