Interplanetary Peace Talks [Documentary]: Dudley Perkins (Self Study)


Whether you call him Dudley Perkins or Declaime matters not - the Oxnard, California native is funky as a mo'fo. Oxnard might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of California hip-hop meccas, but when you realize that Madlib, Oh No and DJ Babu hail from Oxnard too, perhaps you'll change your mind.

A Documentary about Rapper, Vocalist, and Prophet?: Dudley Perkins AKA Declaime

After producing and directing a documentary on rapper Wildchild of The Lootpack in 2003, "Wild 'N You", filmmakers A.J. Calomay and Paul Dang began shooting their next project that same year. The subject: the enigmatic Dudley Perkins aka Declaime. The process was not what they expected.

Vegas, Spaghetti, Smoke, Bugs, Beer, Amoebas, Sunlight, Darkness, Pogo Sticks. This is not your average hip hop documentary.

Experience what the filmmakers saw through their time spent with Dudley, from 2003 to 2008. Artist, singer, father, preacher, poet, partner, rapper, friend, and enigma. Why take so long for this film to be released? Because Dudley can show us the path to love and life in 2012 and beyond.

A.J. Calomay
Paul Dang
Anne Ramis

Edited by
A.J. Calomay
Joel Buenavista

Associate Producer/Additional Editing
Lakan Deleon

Audio Mixer/Sound Design
Ryan Frias
Alan Chang

Camera Operators
A.J. Calomay
Eric Cruz
Paul Dang
Eric Ignacio
Shaun Sangkarat
Eric Tandoc

Assistant Editor
Anne Ramis

Footage and Stills provided by
Dudley Perkins
Georgia Anne Muldrow
Renzo and Ricardo Revelli of Listen Clothing
Amaze of Digital Dojo
Richard Vaughn
Demian Hoings of Groove Attack
Stones Throw Records
Andrew Gura
Oh No

As for the album, Declaime christens it: Self Study, ”a self help tool…to raise the vibration…to a more positive level."

Backed by his long-time friend and collaborator Georgia Anne Muldrow on production, Mr. Perkins is free to tackle any subject that's on his mind, and in the process spark the minds of his listeners to think objectively. At times it's far from light fare - in fact "Coonspiracy" could be said to be downright heavy. Hip-Hop needs a song like this though, to cast an eye inward on itself, as opposed to having outside forces dictate what is and isn't culturally and musically acceptable:

Over the course of seventeen tracks, Declaime explores a myriad of hip hop styles and vibes. ”Poet" takes its musical queues from the g-funk style of Dr. Dre. But rather than having a mellow sound like Dre, Declaime's vocals are more akin to Sadat X as he raps about why he is rapping. His reasons are, of course, not for money but for love.

Hip-Hop does need a healthy balance, with the creative and intellectual forces like Declaime there to counteract the "pimps and hoes," but unfortunately it's far from a 50/50 split - and that's the "Coonspiracy" that Declaime is decrying. You can agree, you can disagree, but at least when you hear the song, you'll think about it critically. In case you believed Declaime was laced down and super serious, there's plenty of fun to be found on the album too. Prince Po of Organized Konfusion fame joins Declaime and Illicit Da Konvict for a bopping hip-hop track filled with "Illicit Fonk." On "Quartz" Perkins declares "this is real life, not an act/I walk so different" but he also walks it with an uplifting ebullient spirit and is joined by Muldrow for the vocals. LMNO also drops in for a spell to get fluid on "Movin," and Kev Brown drops in as a guest as "East Meets West."

Now with all that "Self Study" has going for it, there are times that you'll feel a little studying goes a long way. "Zoom" featuring M.E.D. a/k/a Medaphoar seems like it could be a fun diversion, but then Declaime gets as heavy as cancer and declares that "sleep minds stay clouded, until you're dead in a hearse." Ouch. "Dirty Dude" is even more sharp and biting, portraying the role of a crooked cop at his most wicked, without the humorous relief a similar track like Cypress Hill's "Pigs" can offer. Even on "Perfect (Git a Taste)" you get the feeling from Declaime it could be "Coonspiracy Part II," and at some point you begin to feel Mr. Perkins spent so much time studying that recreational activities unnecessarily fell to the wayside. It ain't all serious all the time, but it's probably as serious as he's ever been in his career if not moreso. And while working exclusively with Georgia Anne Muldrow may be lyrically liberating, it can also at times be musically stifling - some Oh No or Madlib beats would really have freshened things up.

"Self Study" is a fine album in the Declaime/Dudley Perkins catalogue, which like so many of his albums will be greatly appreciated by his cult fans and not by the mainstream masses.


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