Chilo & B.O.K. - Faces of the Meek and Fearless

Right now, in bars across Long Island, angry men and women are saying foul, ignorant things about their neighbors. Pockets of progressivism do not undo racist undercurrents. Over the past year, our Island has witnessed a significant uptick in incidence of hate speech: KKK flyers on the LIRR , "Make America White Again" graffiti in Mineola, swastikas in bathrooms at Nassau Community College, and more recently, a 20-foot version dug into a Levittown field.

Imagine the passion it must take to do something like that, the dedication. One cannot simply turn the other cheek in the face of such hate. One must confront it head-on with equal passion, dedication and fearlessness.

That is what Chilo brings to every verse of his latest album, Faces of the Meek and Fearless, a call to resist rooted in the social experience of a Long Island Latino poet, set to a soulful soundtrack by B.O.K. with jazzy instrumental accompaniment by Johnny Lynch; a perfect harmony of progressive vision and warrior tradition.

Make no mistake: these are not the typically vague political declarations and bland boom-bap beats of the #conscious rap artist; these are studied observations conveyed via refined rhymes and riddims. This is not "the album that hip-hop needs right now" or some such; there are plenty of gifted MCs out, with insightful stories relevant to the day. However, it just might be the album Long Island needs right now, all genre biases aside. Play it for your parents and your teachers and your friends and your neighbors and the strangers at the bar. Ask questions. Take stances. Speak truths.

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