One Be Lo
Hometown: Pontiac, Michigan
Discography: 2005 ï¿½ S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M. (Fat Beats)
Sounds Like: With the prerequisite rhymes about absent fathers, Reagan-era crack conspiracies, and “The Ghetto,” a place where “the trigger man ain”t even old enough to vote,” One Be Lo isn”t paving much new ground, but his jams sure are catchy as hell. He cobbles together a pastiche of dusty R&B samples, soulful ’70s beats, and the smooth lyrical activism of wordsmiths like Mos Def and the Last Poets. His rhymes get in your head and stay there — and that’s a good thing.
Fun Facts: One Be Lo, aka Nashid Sulaiman, a part of the Midwest rap scene since the late mid-90s, has had more aliases than Jennifer Garner. He started out performing as One Man Army, and was formerly one half of the acclaimed underground rap duo Binary Star. Nashid is also a huge fan of the neo-natal acronym. His first, self-released album was called F.E.T.U.S., which stands for the phrase For Everyone that Understands. S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M. — or Sounds of Nashid Originate Good Rhymes and Music — is One”s full-length debut on Fat Beats.