Binary Star – “Conquistadors”

A binary star is actually not one star, but two, which revolve around each other so closely that to observers they are like one.

Funny, this song taught me more about that than an entire semester of college astronomy.

Binary Star is the duo of One Be Lo, A.K.A OneManArmy, and Senim Silla, two emcees hailing from Pontiac, Michigan, and the title couldn’t be more fitting. The duo united under the goal of making real rap, focused on skill, substance, and avoiding the vapid, senseless excesses which pervaded current hip-hop music culture: Guns, money, and the endless, talking-loud-saying-jack-shit mentality. The duo originally met in a Michigan correctional facility, and realized that they both could rhyme and carried the same feelings about hip-hop. After their release, they quickly got to work, and with a paltry 500 bucks, recorded their debut.

Waterworld hit in 1999, and became an underground sensation in the Michigan rap scene. It caused enough buzz for the group to re-release it the next year as Masters of the Universe.

With the 2001-esque album cover, complete with a monolithic microphone, Senim and Lo indicated that Masters of the Universe was the arrival of something monumental.

And trust me, listening to this record is like that intro scene in 2001 where the apes discover tools: Afterwards, nothing is the same.

Masters of the Universe is a fantastic listen. Thoughtful, passionate, and very well spoken, Lo and Senim are deep thinkers, concerned with the state of hip-hop and current black culture. Every word rapped and every beat utilized is carefully chosen and nothing on the record is careless or an afterthought. As well, the two have perfect chemistry, coming together like He-Man and Battlecat to deliver decisive rhymes.

“Conquistadors” is one of several songs on Masters which I’m really enjoying. Those horns, man! Those freaking horn flourishes are simply unstoppable, giving you the feeling that the two have arrived to conquer the whole damn planet. It’s a complete knockout track.

Senim and Lo went their separate ways since Masters, but they are just as strong apart as they are together. Remember, two stars, but in 2013 they finally returned with the Binary Star EP and DAMN am I happy to see ’em back. With a classic like Masters under their belts and a renewed partnership, I’m eager to hear more.

Like the sample at the beginning of the track declares: ”It’s a new day, motherfucker.”