Natural Resource "Negro League Baseball" (1996)
Back to Natural Resource, and the crew that gave the world Jean Grae. This first twelve features three cuts, "Negro League Baseball", "They Lied", and "Bum Deal" (I won't count the interlude "Say What"). I've always thought the consensus has been "Negro League" is the classic here, so I'll state it like it's fact. Each member of the crew drops a verse (that's What? What?...er, Jean Grae...sandwiched in the middle), before the metaphor is spelled out. Eventually.
Baseball was never for blacks. (What?)
It used to be a pasttime for whites. (That's true.)
Now it has mad Puerto Ricans. (Uh oh)
But that's not the point of the song. (A-ight)
The point of this song, and I make it mad simple, when I be flippin' this script:
Is that the industry is all over the mound, pitchin', but nobody's makin' any hits.
Baseball is not just a sport
It's the verbal/mental/physical/spiritual/emotional level that we are on
It's about time that all you devils was gone...
There's a casual sense of humor in this song that was almost revolutionary to me. Pair that with the marketing that accompanied it (including the 12" label, as seen above), and it gave you the sense that this crew might be living next door...this really is our music, not some executive's. Yeah, KRS-1 had been making that argument for years, but this was something palpable. Feel free to call this out as an overrated piece of shit if you disagree...
Oh, "Bum Deal" and "They Lied" are cool, too. Also includes instrumentals for "Negro League" and "They Lied".