Various Voices from the Frontlines

For all the armchair warriors, political pendants and idealistic freedom fighters who chime in daily with personal opinions about the war in Iraq, it’s surprising how little we ever here from the actual soldiers over there risking their lives for the intensely debated cause. Voices from the Frontlines is an attempt to change all that — a hip-hop compilation realised by the many serving spare time MCs from the army and the marines who want nothing but to get word to their loved ones and let the people back home know what’s really going down. While the beats here — largely representing the American West coast and Down South — are certainly nothing to laugh at, there’s no question that the real focus is the message. Tales of fear and uncertainty abound as many of the soldiers just want to make it home to see the kids they left behind, while each waits to see who might be the next to not get that chance. Of course, it wouldn’t be a hip-hop record without somebody bragging about controlling the streets [of Iraq] with tanks and the marines at their backs, but for the most part the would-be poets and MCs stick to the far more inspired task of conveying the confusion of someone stuck 10,000 miles from home and who only knows that they need to pull that trigger first. (Burns/NFB)