"WORLD OF VIBRATIONS"
The lead track of their last project finds Blackalicious going to, yet another, undiscovered dark corner of hip hop with this experiment of sound, melody, instrumentation and tempo. Gift of Gab at his finest.
BIG DADDY KANE
"THE BEEF IS ON"
Late-career Kane just freakin that beat with his signature smoothness. While "The Beef is On" might not normally be held amongst the greatest in Big Daddy songs, it's a gem from an emcee that pulls together the right beat (from "Atomic Dog"), the right Ice Cube sample on the break ("Once again, it's on!" from "The Nigga Ya Love to Hate") and the best flow in the game.
PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS
"SUITE FOR CREEPER"
More typical bank-heist hip hop in which their robbery's botched, Thes One commits suicide and Double K goes out in a hail of bullets with the boys in blue. And if that ain't enough excitement, the beat will break necks.
PUSH BUTTON OBJECTS
"FLY (YOU AIN'T)" featuring VAST AIRE, MAINTAIN and AKROBATIK
Producer Edgar Farinas (aka Push Button Objects) brings together three emcees on this blazin' track. Vast spits, "I gotta t-shirt on the front it says 'I don't like you,'/On the back it says 'Stop cryin'/That was the first thing you saw before you started whining/Approaching the mic like you feared flyin'." Vintage Vast trash talking.
"FIT BUT YOU KNOW IT"
I wouldn't be considered the biggest fan of The Streets, but dude comes off nice on "Fit" as his self-talk battles a girlie who's playing hard to get--"Fit but, my gosh, don't you know it." Skinner doesn't rap, he just speaks and while sometimes annoying, over the pounding the guitar and drums, it works for me.
The Beatnuts doing what they do best--balancing almost perfectly their duties as emcees and as producers. Typical braggadocious trash-talking from JuJu and Les, but the stoned keys and grimey guitar butters off this beautiful track. No one better than da Nuts.
LL COOL J
Before LL was the ultra-bulky, slick-headed, cable-ready rapper/actor, he was a swaggering womanizer, a smooth-talking punk who could snatch up yo lady with his cool smirk and shoulder shrug. The jumpsuits, the Kangol--it was the album Walking With a Panther and this song off the paramount album that made me the biggest fan of Cool J, not "Goin' Back to Cali" and "I'm That Type of Guy." I'd sit there with my Walkman playing, then rewinding, playing, then rewinding until ultimately the tape would wear thin and snap in two. Yeah, b'lee dat.
KICE OF COURSE, JEAN GRAE & STEADY ROC
Taken from the last four minutes of ex-Company Flow DJ Mr. Len's debut record, this absolutely sikk ghost track bangs so freakin hard and Kice's flow over a beat built out of handclaps and geekazoid synths is insanity: "I expose heads in worse positions, tell their fans their panty size on my intermission, with them corny lines, ya' boys don't wanna listen." Kice spits trash with the best of 'em.
"MS. FAT BOOTY"
Mos Def's first solo set the independent world on fiyah! And this, the proper single released to varied formats was just downright buttah. Combining a beautiful Aretha Franklin sample with Mos' humorous accounts of a female chasin'. Hip hop just doesn't sound this nice anymore. And, yes, Mos Def really is an emcee, believe it or not.
Back when this album dropped (The Carnival), my boys and I just couldn't get enough of "Apocalypse." Wyclef details a world on fire, discrimination's running rampant and police violence leads to the shooting of an innocent boy. If that's the apocalypse, then you better run to meet the preacher man today. Ah, ten years ago things were so simple.