One Be Lo – “Oggie”

Perfection in less than two minutes, this song neatly covers the reason why I’m such a big fan of One Be Lo.

A former knucklehead, Michigan emcee One Be Lo (or One Man Army) decided to change his life after a stint in prison so he picked up a mic…and you should be damn happy he did. Along with his good buddy, Senim Silla, they formed a duo known as Binary Star and released a fantastic all-rap, no bull record with Masters of the Universe. In 2005 he released his grand opus S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M., one of my all-time favorite records, jammed packed of intelligent tracks with solid production and brilliant rhymes. It’s a record I keep coming back to, because Lo is a dude who has passion for what he does and a strong desire to teach and inspire change.

“Oggie” is an incredible example, as Lo speaks about a friend lost to violence. Over a slick bassoon loop, Lo spits a single, poignant verse, and in that short ninety seconds you are witness to anger, remorse, confusion, and sadness, but also knowledge of self, empowerment, and perseverance. This is a masterful listen, and those final lines never fail to captivate:

Once dumb now I got a lot to say
Once blind now I focus on the world today
Don’t think you got +wisdom+, life’ll pull your teeth
I got peeps in the dirt from some bullshit beef
Walkin’ a straight path these last days is even steeper
Action inflated, talk is even cheaper
You dig it? We livin’ in holes that’s gettin’ deeper
The more niggaz grin the more the Grim Reaper…