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 Post subject: Certified Classics
PostPosted: 09/13/04 03:22:01 PM 
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Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
This this will be a read-only archive of COTW albums that have been voted as classic.

Certified classics:

- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=65984]Alkaholiks - 21 And Over[/url]
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=65525]Black Moon - Enta Da Stage[/url]
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=64812]Black Star - Black Star[/url]
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=61601]Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein[/url]
- CNN - War Report
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=61807]Common - Resurrection[/url]
- Dr Dre - The chronic
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=63668]Gravediggaz - 6 Feet Deep[/url]
- Gangstarr : Moment of Truth
- Ice Cube : Death Certificate
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=70717]Masta Ace - Slaughtahouse[/url]
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?p=857975]Mobb Deep - The Infamous[/url]
- Mos Def - black on Both Sides
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=65102]Nas - Illmatic[/url]
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=66497]Naughty By Nature - Naughty By Nature[/url]
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=60828]Organized Konfusion - Stress: The Extinction Agenda[/url]
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=60425]OutKast - ATLiens[/url]
- Pete Rock & CL Smooth - Mecca & The Soul Brother
- Public Enemy : It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=61066]Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx[/url]
- Reflection Eternal : Train of Thought
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=62211]Roots, The - Illadelph Halflife[/url]
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=67662]Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory[/url]
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=59938]Ultramagnetic MCs - Critical Beatdown[/url]
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=64443]Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)[/url]

Rejected albums:

- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=69732]The Coup - Steal This Album[/url]
- Del - No Need For Alarm
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=68259]DMX - It's Dark And Hell Is Hot[/url]
- Onyx - Bacdafucup
- Pharoah Monch - Internal Affairs
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=68436]Shyheim - The Lost Generation[/url]
- [url=bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=62628]Tech N9ne - Anghellic[/url]

All posts after this will be the actual reviews in order of submission (excluding rejected albums).


Last edited by Sai on 06/16/05 03:51:31 AM, edited 20 times in total.

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PostPosted: 09/13/04 03:23:07 PM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: Ultramagnetic MCs - Critical Beatdown
Reviewer: Sai
Voter outcome: 11-1
Link: http://www.hiphop-elements.com/phpBB/vi ... hp?t=59938

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Classic of the week: Ultramagnetic MCs - Critical Beatdown

Note: I'll be reviewing the remastered version.

Image

1988 Roadrunner / Next Plateau Records

Rhymes: Kool Keith, Ced-Gee, TR Love (Um, sort of. He was actually the original Jarobi)
Production: Ced Gee, Paul C. on "Give The Drummer Some"
DJ: Moe Luv

1. Watch Me Now - 5
2. Ease Back - 5
3. Ego Trippin' (Original 12") - 5
4. Moe Luv's Theme - 5
5. Kool Keith Housing Things - 5 (This is just fucking insane)
6. Travelling at the Speed of Thought (Remix) - 5
7. Feelin' It - 5
8. One Minute Less - 5
9. Ain't It Good to You - 5
10. Funky (Remix) - 5
11. Give the Drummer Some - 5 (The drums!)
12. Break North - 5
13. Critical Beatdown - 5
14. When I Burn - 5
15. Ced-Gee (Delta Force One) - 4

** Bonus Tracks **

16. Funky (Original 12" Version) - 5
17. Bait (Original 12" Version) - 5
18. Chorus Line (Original 12" Version feat. Tim Dog) - 5
19. Travelling at the Speed of Thought (Hip House Club Mix) - 0 (This song belongs nowhere near this album)
20. Ego Trippin' (Bonus Beats/Instrumental)
21. Mentally Mad (Original 12" Version) - 4

5/5

I implore anyone who hasn't heard this go get it now. I chose this album to start it off for a few reasons. 1) It's a definitive classic that rivals other albums of the time such as Eric B. and Rakim's "Paid in Full" or BDP's "Criminal Minded". 2) It's, unfortunately, overlooked like crazy. 3) It contributed to the future sound of hiphop, arguably, more than anyone. 4) It's fucking great.

That said, Ultramagnetic MCs made themselves known in 1986 with the single release of "Ego Trippin'", which still bangs today. The artists of the time were still very loyal to simple, strictly structured verses and deliveries (Run-DMC, for example, who are abused in the first few lines). Nobody was doing what Keith and Ced-Gee were. They came out and flipped the art of rhyming upside down, and they knew it. "Ego Trippin'" opens with Keith boldly proclaiming:

They use a simple back and forth the same old rhythm
That a baby can pick up and join right with them
But the rhymes are pathetic, they think they're copacetic
Using nursery terms, at least not poetic


Not only did he hit the nail on the head regarding the then current state of MCing, but, possibly more important, he used the word "copacetic". WHAT? That was Keith. What many people remember about Ultramagnetic was the fact that they pretty much fathered the uber lyrical-scientifical style that would engulf everyone in the years to come. While Run-DMC, KRS, and Chuck D were all getting their deserved attention, Ultramag created a stylistic undercurrent so ahead of its time that it still wasn't fully recognized until after the group ended their career in 1993 (even though they're supposedly back together now). Although Ced-Gee held his own very nicely next to Kool Keith, Keith steals the show whenever possible and delivered one of the most neglected album performances ever. Armed with a sharp tongue and vocab people didn't know existed, Keith came out fearless, throwing shots at everyone. On "Kool Keith Housing Things", Keith's classic solo cut, he throws a diss in Rakim's general direction:

...and cook 'em, 'til they all well done
They're not ready, they don't smell done
Like fish, it ain't my favorite dish
I grab a steak and to battle I wish


BLAOW! Many people recognize Keith's other jab at Rakim ("I see your balls of clay with x-vision..."), but the indirect assault and disregard of the classic "Fish, which is my favorite dish" line will always be harder to me. Other than the audacious disses, Kool Keith came prepared with vocab that would help shape the forthcoming era of hiphop and propel MCs towards lyrical styles never imagined. Keith and Ced-Gee weren't so much about perfect, calculated verses as they were about off-the-wall imagery and braggadocio (notably Keith, as already expressed). The album's a classic display of innovative rhyming, to say the least. Great MCing is only worth so much, though. When not wrecking the mic, Ced-Gee was making the beats.

Ced-Gee did most of the production on "Critical Beatdown" (Paul C. is also credited) and proved himself to be nothing less than a great beatsmith. Not only do the beats absolutely BANG, but Ced-Gee's production put many breakbeats and samples on the map in hiphop production. The classic samples he was using would be reinvented years later and made into their own respective classics by many future producers. The samples that Ced-Gee made into hiphop staples is almost endless, from Bob James' "Nautilus" to Joe Cocker's "Woman to Woman". Ced-Gee was making better beats than most fellow producers, but his contributions still go unnoticed. People will usually recognize amazing talent over time, but Ced-Gee is still extremely overlooked. His label as an MC probably somewhat overshadowed his contributions as a producer but, nonetheless, he made numerous classics. Nearly every song on "Critical Beatdown" could have been released as a notable A-side single, they're really just that damn good. Other than innovative, fresh samples, Ced-Gee brought the boom bap with hard drums. I've often thought that drums alone can and will make an album (see: "Low End Theory"), and Ced proves it. The breakbeats are hard and will punch you in the face. The combination of non-stop rugged drums and instant-classic samples make the production a thing of beauty.

Other than being remastered, 6 bonus tracks are included. The bonus tracks on the album only help. The original versions of "Funky", "Bait", and "A Chorus Line" are greatly appreciated. The hiphop house club mix of "Travelling at the Speed of Thought", however, is garbage and is entirely out of place on the album. It was never released on CD previously and there was a reason for that. The other bonus tracks help tie the Ultramag feel together, and "Travelling..." comes in and fucks it all up. That's really my only complaint about the added tracks, though. The album is otherwise nearly flawless.

Ultramagnetic MCs set many standards in both MCing and production and continue to be ignored by a majority of hiphop fans. Enough praise can't be said for the group and almost everything that can be said has. Their unprecedented style and genre changing innovation is nothing less than classic. Liam Howlett of The Prodigy says it best in the renovated liner notes, "The album was totally raw on the production, something only a lack of money but total knowledge of beats and innovative street rhymes could produce." There you have it.


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PostPosted: 09/13/04 03:26:28 PM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: OutKast - ATLiens
Reviewer: Morten
Voter outcome: 21-3
Link: http://www.hiphop-elements.com/phpBB/vi ... hp?t=60425

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Image

Label : LaFace records/Arista BMG (August 27th, 1996)

Production : Organized Noize & OutKast/Earthtone III

1. You May Die (Intro) (5)
2. Two Dope Boyz (In A Cadillac) (5)
3. ATLiens (5)
4. Wheelz Of Steel (5)
5. Jazzy Belle (5)
6. Elevators (Me & You) (5)
7. Ova Da Wudz (4,5) (the hook sounds....wrong)
8. Babylon (5)
9. Wailin' (5) (2 minutes??!!! Too damn short )
10. Mainstream (w/Khujo & T-Mo Goodie) (5)
11. Decatur Psalm (w/Cool Breeze & Bigg Gipp) (5)
12. Millennium (5)
13. E.T. (Extraterrestrial) (5)
14. 13th Floor/Growing Old (5)
15. Elevators (ONP 86 Mix) (4)

Overall : 5/5

When Big Boi & Dre released their debut album “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzic” in 1994 nobody really believed that these Atlanta boys were for real so I guess the name they choose for the group is very fitting. Not only for their career but most definitely for this album

Pronunciation: 'aut-"kast
Function: noun 1 : one that is cast out or refused acceptance (as by society).


Released when the east/west coast “beef” was at it’s most critical stages (2Pac was killed just weeks later) this album could not be defined as east or west coast inspired and therefore they once and for all put the Dirty South on the map (yes, Scarface is also from the south but he’s always sounded like a West Coast artist so…). While it may not be the same crunk music that they make in the South today this album opened a lot of doors for these southern drawl artists and without Atliens I doubt that most these crunk Mc’s would be signed at all.

As the first seconds of the intro play you just know this album is going to be special (and I still get that feeling 8 years later) and at no point during the 57 minutes and 27 seconds are you let down by that feeling. The production is almost sample free instead they rely on live instrumentation and keyboards creating some of the most emotional beats in recent times. It’s especially nice that they add Mr Dj to so many cuts incorporating his scratches into the mellow vibe of the album (Deejays take note : Scratching does not necessarily have to sound like people kicking a cat). Add the beautiful voices of Joi and Debra Killings to name a few you have the perfect sonic backdrop for the Andre 3000 & Big Boi to drop what is probably the best verses of their entire career (so far at least).

Remember the first time you heard “Elevators”? I do and I didn’t really get it. It was so slow.., so minimalistic but yet extremely catchy. The hooks still strikes me as odd today but you can’t help but sing along :

Me and you, your momma and your cousin too
Rollin down the strip on vogues
Coming up slamming Cadillac doors


They both tell tales of coming up but Andre steals the show with his last verse

Got stopped at the mall the other day
Heard a call from the other way
that I just came from, some nigga was sayin somethin
talkin bout "Hey man, you remember me from school?" smoke some
Naw not really but he kept smilin like a clown
facial expression lookin silly
And he kept askin me, what kind of car you drive, I know you paid
I know y'all got buku of hoes from all them songs that y'all done made
And I replied that I had been goin through tha same thing that he had
True I got more fans than the average man but not enough loot to last me
to the end of the week, I live by the beat like you live check to check
If you don't move yo' foot then I don't eat, so we like neck to neck
Yes we done come a long way like them Slim ass cigarettes
from Virginia, this ain't gon stop so we just gonna continue.¨


On “Babylon” Andre once again shows why he is one of hip-hops best lyricists with his chilling (autobiographical?) verse

"I came into this world high as a bird from secondhand cocaine powder
I know it sounds absurd, I never tooted but its in my veins
While the rest of the country bungies off bridges without no snap back
and bitches they say they need that to shake they fannies in the
ass clubs, they go the other route, turn each other out, burn each other out
Where a bonified nigga like me can't even get no back rub these days
Ain't that bleak on they part
But let me hold it down cause they shut you down when you speak from your heart
Now that's hard, wwhile we rantin and ravin bout gats, nigga they made them gats
They got some shit that'll blow out our backs, from where they stay at"


They also keep the guest appearances to a minimum allowing only the Dungeoun Family to spit on this record and allowing Cool Breeze to spit the best shit he ever did during his entire “career” on “Decatur Psalm”

call da crib they say "Breeze you ain't know?"
I say "What?" --- "Big Time got popped in his Benzo!"
I said "Damn man, I'm riding in his Lexus
I'm bout to dump this nigga's shit in New Dimensions
Get to the crib so I can call Big Slate up
And tell em da money man done slipped and got his throat cut
And everything that we took from the warehouse
I heard somebody talkin 'bout it at the White House
Man I thought you said that this job was for me and you
I ain't know that Bill Clampett wanted some too
You tell his folks that I'm sorry bout that Lexus
I'm 'bout to dip and see my sister up in... naaah!
Can't even tell you where I put my extra playa card
Cause them Red Dog police know we homeboys
Just tell everybody who us a dime
It's the Great Hoe Round Up Yo' Money time
I got to HAVE MINE, then I'm OUTTA HERE
Take a loss, come back up just like Coco Grier
Ain't got to worry bout yo' partna gettin caught like a lame
It won't be over til that big girl from Decatur sang"


The album never slacks off, on the contrary it continues to grow as one of the albums best songs are found towards the end. On the almost 7 minute masterpiece “13th Floor/Growing Old” uncredited Dungeoun Fam member Big Rube drops some of the tightest shit ever released on record

"Conceive true deception multiplied a million fold
Visualize the yin and yang in a battle so intense that we get em confused
The resident evil specialize in misconstruing
We wanna be at a presidential level -- what are we doing?
Foolin ourself, clownin ourself, playin ourself, by not bein ourself
We can't babble no more than we can bob our head offbeat
Nimrod by the time we forty cause we can't get our meat
While we ask no reason for the misplacement of the season
look at the picture that's painted
Tainted as the mind who's blinded to the point
where Sodomites get all the rights
We fall for fights with fisticuffs
Get pissed enough to miss the bus
It disgusts me to see my folks run up on
I say stand up on deception of time all of Revelations
And recognize this mind on the reality of horror known as mankind
Jesus and his twelve disciples make thirteen
A righteous number of righteous men
Even Judas the Betrayer came true in the end
The Devil say the end is the beginning
They teach that we were the product of incest
Invest no level of self into their system of Paganomics
Stand with us and don't look back upon it
Just face this mindstate; otherwise Babylon..."


One of the finest tunes to smoke weed to…ever! (Actually one of the best albums to smoke weed to ever)

The albums only odd track comes at the end with the misplaced Elevators ONP 86 remix. It’s not that it’s bad but it just doesn’t fit the rest of the album and would have been better as a B-side tracks instead of ending the album. It does not intefer too much with the album though and the first word that comes to mind when thinking of this album is FLAWLESS.

Now I could keep on making references to the lyrics and praising the production but there really is no need to do so because you already know this album. I’m not even going to make this a discussion of the albums they released lately but I think most will agree that “Aquemeni” was a classic as well? Most groups never even release a classic single…

And I haven't even mentioned the cover art and the "comic" inside...damn!

If you don’t have this already (retard!) get it NOW


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PostPosted: 09/13/04 03:29:01 PM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: Organized Konfusion - Stress: The Extinction Agenda
Reviewer: Mad Mufasa
Voter outcome: 10-3
Link: http://www.hiphop-elements.com/phpBB/vi ... hp?t=60828

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surprised??? ahaha

Image

5/5

Hollywood BASIC records
2nd lp
Released: 1993 (ahead of its time though)
Organized Konfusion: Pharoahe Monch , Prince Poetry
Producers: Buckwild, Organized Konfusion, Rockwilder.

Back when both Prince Po and Monche were spitting heavy


1. Intro 5/5 - Dark bass thumpin head nod rhythm reminissent of the grimey 94 era, pharoahe's whiney fluctuating style voice + prince po's heavy knockin delivery = dope.

2. Stress 5/5 Produced by Buckwild. - a roughneck beat. Prince Po: "Im spreadin, like lepracy throughout the record lable cause minds and monch career in jeopardy!" Monche "Most of you can't even comprehend what I am saying to you even in my human form the message im relaying" <<<---- ILLNESS, Droppin with the intensity of onyx with a little more articulation though

3. The Extinction Agenda 5/5 - I like the general vibe of this track. The beat seems to have the right number of ingredients in it. Catchy chorus blended well with background vocals. OK's versatility shines on this track.

4. Thirteen 5/5 - Monche Solo. A new flowing style emerges, shit like this keeps the album really easy to listen to from start to finish. It works really well and they smoothly ride across a beat with head noddin precision.

5. Black Sunday 5/5 - Ok's versatility over the beats bumps it up to 5. Pharoahe educates us on his ambitions to be a rapper, his dreams, and the struggle that they had to go through. Poetry raps about the drugs and crimes on the streets, then storytells about their struggle to get signed.

6. Drop Bombs 4/5 - Great little interlude if you're about to start a basketball game or something. Really hype and shit, but a little too hype for my blood. Rocky bass and loud snares.

7. Bring It On 5/5 - I'd give this a 4 if the beat's influenced my liking for this track more than than the lyrics did, that isn't the case though. Pharoahes entrance on this song is one of the top 5 illest drops ever. (IMO)

Check out the lost remix.

8. Why 5/5 - Once again a song with a great vibe, chillin jazz drums and sax. Monches melodic flow on this is like rum on coke.

9. Let's Organized ft. Q-tip / O.C. 5/5 - Q-tip helps out on the chorus over a hype funky bounce beat that energize Prince Po's verses for that 4:18 head nod appeal. Backing and forthing with Monche, ahhhh the duo at their prime. SO OC LET EM KNOW HOW WE GO, I think they could've done without O.C. cause he sort of runs out of breath at the end of his piece. Its ok though, it's O.C. :D

----- Albums tempo slows down around this point

10. 3-2-1 (3 strikes, 2 tokes, 1 time for the mind) 5/5 - Thought this was an interlude the first time i heard it, I dont know, something about the way it starts. I like rapping along to this, that means it rated pretty high with me.

11. Keep it Koming 5/5 - Pharoahe / Prince po taking total control of the beat. Thats all im gonna say.

12. Stray Bullet 4/5 - The beat kinda annoys me.

13. Maintain - producer Rockwilder 5/5 - A great laid back kinda hip hop track from hip hops greatest sounding era.


The best Organized Konfusion album. All I have to say about this album is, Intelligent lyrics, versatile flow variations but consistantly held together with solid beat control . Flawless Production, each beat is engineered perfectly to create a razor sharp accuarate beat / verse parallel. Hip Hop would deeply appreciate if you had this album in your collection.

I broke a sweat typing this so dont front!! Im a review writing amateur so bear with me.

Peace.


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PostPosted: 09/13/04 03:31:26 PM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: Raewon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
Reviewer: Mic Check
Voter outcome: 14-3
Link: http://www.hiphop-elements.com/phpBB/vi ... hp?t=61066

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Image

Raekwon The Chef - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... (1995) (RCA/Loud Records)
Guest Appearances: 62nd Assassin, Blue Raspberry, Cappadonna, Ghostface Killah, GZA, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa, Method Man, Nas, RZA & U-God.
Production: RZA & 4th Disciple.

1. Starving For Perfection (Intro) (This beat is sick...)
2. Knuckleheadz f/ Ghostface Killah & U-God - (4/5)
3. Knowledge God - (5/5) (I get chills listenin' to this beat.)
4. Criminology f/ Ghostface Killah - (5/5)
5. Incarcerated Scarfaces - (5/5)
6. Rainy Dayz f/ Blue Raspberry & Ghostface Killah - (4.5/5) (Blue Raspberry's voice is hypnotizing.)
7. Guillotine (Swords) f/ Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah & GZA - (5/5)
8. Can It Be All So Simple (Remix) f/ Ghostface Killah - (4.5/5) (I like the original off the "Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers" album better.)
9. Shark Niggas (Biters) (Interlude)
10. Ice Water f/ Ghostface Killah & Cappadonna (5/5)
11. Glaciers Of Ice f/ Ghostface Killah, Masta Killah, Blue Raspberry & 62nd Assassin - (5/5)
12. Verbal Intercourse f/ Nas & Ghostface Killah - (5/5)
13. Wisdom Body f/ Ghostface Killah - (4.5/5)
14. Spot Rusherz - (5/5) (Dope St. Ides commercial playin in the background.)
15. Ice Cream f/ Method Man, Ghostface Killah & Cappadonna - (5/5) ("Watch these rap niggas get all up in your gut.")
16. Wu Gambinos f/ Method Man, RZA, Masta Killah & Ghostface Killah - (5/5)
17. Heaven & Hell f/ Ghostface Killah & Blue Raspberry - (5/5) ("Medallions the size of dinner plates")
18. North Star (Jewels) (4.5/5)

Overall: 5 mics. :afro: :afro: :afro: :afro: :afro:

"YouknowhatI'msayin? Let's not think like we gon be stagnating man
Let's keep movin ahead man, keep our head up man
Take care of our families man
God, word is bond, I'm your eyes that's in back of you kid
Let's do it then


As part of the Wu-Tang Clan, their 1993 debut album, "Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers" already left a mark on Hip-Hop with tracks such as "C.R.E.A.M.", "Protect Ya Neck" and "Bring Da Ruckus." Now with Method Man's "Tical" and Ol Dirty Bastard's "Return To The 36 Chambers" already dropping, it was time for Raekwon The chef to release his long awaited solo album. He clearly didn't disappoint.

The album opens with the haunting beat of the intro, "Starving For Perfection", which includes the guest spot of the entire album, Ghostface Killah.

Probably one of the best songs of the album slowly comes up (My personal favorite), his first solo of the album titled, "Knowledge God." The beat is pure beauty, with Raekwon giving one of his personal quotables:

"Was a rich nigga, picture the nigga without dope figures
Condo with his chick, rockin a gold Vigor
Mafia flicks, tyin up tricks was his main hobby
Teachin his seed, Wu-Tang karate
Mixin drinks in clubs, hairy chest with many minks
Night time rollin with spics
Extra live, he claimed he couldn't die, top rank
Took sixteen shots in his fist to bank
And his pet piranha, he named him marijuana
Smokin ganja, callin his weed paisandra
Claimin New York was ancient Babylon
Where the sky stayed the color of grey, like her-on
I can't front though, truck loads of indo
Soon to blow slow, his ass is out now, tally-hoe."


Mafioso at it's best. More bangers set the album at its pace with "Criminology" the classic, "Incarcerated Scarfaces" and "Rainy Dayz" featuring Ghostface Killah and the hypnotizing voice of Blue Raspberry. A Wu-Tang collabo drops with Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah & GZA with the track "Guillotine (Swords)." GZA steals the show with his hard verse:

"The nigga don't get mad, I got mad styles of my own
And it's shown when my hands grip the chrome microphone
Verbally I catch bodies with cordless shotties
Intriguin emcees, I keep em trained like potties
I bomb facts, my sword is an axe
to split backs invisible, like dope fiend tracks
Sky's the limit, niggaz are timid, and nobody knows
How we move like wolfs in sheep clothes
Producin data, microchips or software
Undaground and off air, the Land of the Lost
Notorious henchman from the North
Strikin niggaz where the Mason-Dixon line crossed."


Underrated at best. RZA continues to keep the bangers coming with tracks such as "Can It Be All So Simple (Remix)", "Ice Water" & "Glaciers Of Ice" with appearances of Cappadonna, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killah, Blue Raspberry & 62nd Assassin of Sunz Of Man. With the album setting it's tone, one of the most known tracks off the album hits off, "Verbal Intercourse." At the time of 95, Nas is coming out of his debut classic, "Illmatic" and is already setting himself aside from others emcees and possibly the best rapper out at the time. His best guest appearances comes up on this album, and a beauty it is:

"Through the lights cameras and action, glamour glitters and gold
I unfold the scroll, plant seeds to stampede the globe
When I'm deceased, by then the beast arise like yeast
to conquer peace leaving savages to roam in the streets
Live on the run, police paying me to give in my gun
Trick my Wisdom, with the system that imprisoned my son
Smoke a gold leaf I hold heat, nonchalantly
I'm grungy, but things I do is real it never haunts me
while, funny style niggaz roll in the pile
Rooster heads profile on a bus to Riker's Isle
Holdin weed inside they pussy with they minds on the
pretty things in life, props is a true thug's wife
It's like a cycle, niggaz come home, some'll go in
Do a bullet, come back, do the same shit again
From the womb to the tomb, presume the unpredictable
Guns salute life, rapidly, that's the ritual."


DAMN! A verse like that makes it seem for sure why Nas is on so many "Top 10" list of so many Hip-Hop fans. The list of ill songs continues with "Wisdom Body" and "Spot Rusherz." The classic hit of 95 comes out, "Ice Cream." I know everybody remembers the video, with RZA in the ice cream truck, and the chicks wearin their "Chocolate Deluxe" and "French Vanilla" t-shirts, Raekwon & Ghostface spittin game to some chicks and young Shyheim dancing in the video. FIYAH!! Cappadonna steals the show with his memorable verse:

"Black chocolate girl wonder, shade brown like Thunder
Politic til your deficit step, gimme your number
Your sexy persuasive ta-ta's and thighs
Catch my eyes like highs I want your bodily surprise
Double dime some time, Ice Cream you got me fallin out
like a cripple, I love you like I love my dick size
ooh baby I miss you, your sweet tender touches
take pulls off the dutches, orgasm in my mindstate
masterbate in your clutches, I want you for self
like wealth, so play me closely
Bitches paranoia for the sting, who want the most of me
Only a hard dozen want to be callin me cousin
Thirsty for my catalog, baby shoppin spree you're lovin
Call me if you want to get dug like the pockets
I jizm like a giant break brooms out of their sockets."


Two more tracks left, with the hard hittin' "Wu Gambinos" and the sick "Heaven & Hell" track, followed by the bonus track "North Star (Jewels)."

"Now that could be the Wu-Tang production
Start to knuckle up and, gun shots start to click the block's duckin
Could it be, and would it be, that we was babies
Catchin, rabies, niggaz seem to act crazy
Day one, in my spot July the tenth
I had a mint, stickin up Devines hittin them with nines
I was toxie, from layin up in Roxie's all night
This nigga bust a shot, lick my man's wife
It was havoc I contact the Abbot
He shook the shoulder though, then he passed the phat chrome automatic
We goin to war, you know we headed to the floor
He woulda, did it, for me fuck it, let's mosie
Schemin dough, with the P.L.O., wrapped on tight
Sayin in my mic "Yo we gotta go"
My first impression was to add some lessons
Question, one, what made you even show your gun and blow the session?
He replied and rocked the green eye
And yo, he started, yellin "Them niggaz sellin two for fives!"
But he's a goner and I got my corner
What, I'm feedin my babies, Cash Rules for mortal daughters."


The Wu had this shit on lock. From start to beginning, this album is pure beauty, and is the best Wu solo album to be released. RZA sets the tone with probably his best production on any Wu solo album and is a sure spot on my Top 5 Producers Of All Time, and Raekwon's Mafioso style is yet to be match on any solo album. Guest appearances excelled deeply, and man, even the song titles were dope!! This album served to be big as, "Medallions the size of dinner plates."


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PostPosted: 09/30/04 04:03:52 PM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein
Reviewer: d_realword
Voter outcome: 11-10
Link: http://www.hiphop-elements.com/phpBB/vi ... hp?t=61601

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Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein
Record Label - Def Jux
Released: 20/08/2001
Rappers: Vast Aire Kramer & Vordul Megalah Shamar
Production: El-P



1. Iron Galaxy – 5
2. Ox Out The Cage feat El-P – 4.5
3. Atom - feat Alaska & Cryptic Of Atoms – 5
4. A B-Boy's Alpha – 4.5
5. Raspberry Fields – 5
6. Straight Off The D.I.C – 5
7. Vein –5
8. F Word –5 (for lack of a higher rating)
9. Stress Rap –4
10. Battle For Asgard - feat. L.I.F.E. Long & C-Rayz Walz Of Stronghold – 4.5
11. Real Earth –4.5
12. Ridiculoid - feat El-P –3.5
13. Painkillers –4
14. Pigeon –5

Bonus track: Scream Phoenix: -5

The first thing I have to point out is that this album was very hard to review because it is unlike anything out there.

On my search for really good hip hop albums I was told to get The Cold Vein by Cannibal Ox a group I had never heard of. I searched for reviews on the album and all the critics said it was very good album and most compared it to Wu-tang first album. But still I persisted and I didn’t buy the album because I hadn’t heard anything of the group before. After asking about on elements two people kept pushing me to get this album. Well I just have to say a big thank you to Indigo and Matthew Benson.
I order the album and after two weeks of waiting I finally got a call that the CD had arrived in the store. I collected the album and popped it into my disc man with nervous anticipation and after listening to the whole album I had visited a world where Vikings roam through space, preaching about the “Iron Galaxy” of despair which we live in and how we are just “Pigeons”.

The first track of the album starts with slow continuous beep sound and then horns jump in and then everything goes silent for a few seconds and we hear a voice say “it’s a cold world out there, sometimes I think I’m getting frosted myself” and then the beat enters; the beat sounds like a futuristic epic adventure (that’s the best I cant describe it) and the two rappers spit about living in the ghetto and how the only hope for people is to work together. Vordul verse comes first and he delivers the complex and metaphorical lyrics while Vast Aire spits the memorable lines with an on point rhythm and flow that flows exceptionally well over the beat.

The second track is where the emcees try and rip the microphone and they rip it they do. Vast Aire is flow is steady paced and he doesn’t try and rush himself, instead he spits on the microphone with a confident cadence so that his words may be absorbed and enjoyed. The album’s producer spits a few lines on this track as well and he is not overly out shined by the other emcees but he doesn’t bring anything too great to the track either. Vordul comes with the long verses packed with multies and intelligent word play.

The third track is one of my personal favourites on the album the beat has synthetic scratches and fast paced electro magnetic type beat. All the Rappers bring something different to the beat each sounding different. I can’t think of a better title for this track.

The fourth track (A B-Boy’s Alpha) starts off with Vast Aire spitting about his child hood from birth to being an emcee, and Vordul comes with that complex cipher (to tell the truth I have no idea what he’s talking about on this whole verse) and he sounds like some scientific teacher educating those with great imaginations.

Raspberry Fields; I cant even try and explain the beat of this track, but it sounds like organised jumbled noise with a thumping drum beat. Vast Aire comes creative on this track by spitting a verse half way and starting all over again (personally I think this was a very creative because the track doesn’t have a chorus…but the listeners can still have something to spit along with)



At first I didn’t really like this song (straight of the D.I.C) but it grew on me and I realised its one of those mellow tracks that are put on the album so that you can just play and do something else and still enjoy it playing in the background.

Vein: just play this track I don’t really have anything else to say about it.

The F Word, is one of my favourites tracks ever, a true classic. This song is different to everything else on the album for a number of reasons. The first reason is that Vast Aire spits all the verses and its Vordul spits the chorus. The second reason is that the beat is strong yet has that soft and compassionate feel.

The ninth track Stress Rap I felt was just as filler I don’t like it at all. If this was the first track I had ever heard from the group I would have just passed them by.


The tenth track “Battle For Asgard” is just a bunch of rappers spitting with a concept of being gods and are fighting for their home (you know the Viking myths) .One thing I didn’t like though was the line from Vast Aire “Got the scroll of Galactus now I'm planet-swallowin…. Megala’s got the surfboard and he's hollerin” I felt as though he was saying he’s way better than Vordul or maybe I’m just reading too much into it.


I like the next track (Real Earth) just because its not too long and it just pointless blunter but Vast still manages to carry it off. Also love it because of the Gangstarr sample (well I think its Gangstarr)


The beat for the eleventh track is very boring and the chorus very cheesy (some can say bad) so I think it is one of the few downfalls on the album.

Painkillers is a very slow paced and track and the beat sounds very sluggish but even with these flaws its still an okay track because of Vast Aire’s heavy hitting lines that just make you smile or laugh, the fact this track was put just before Pigeon was genius. It slows down the feel of the album and prepares the listener for one of the finest points of the album.


Pigeon; the beat for this track is a slow guitar type and the message is almost similar to first track; the rappers talk about being trapped in a world where people need to stick together because of society. Vordul verse on this is dope he comes with that complex verse that you just have to keep listening to over and over again just to understand what he’s talking about.

This is one of the few tracks on the album that has a chorus and they try and bring a new slang for people that have stress in their lives. Vast Aire also makes the track interesting and funny by joking with his verse (don’t wanna spoil it for those who haven’t heard it)

Synopsis:

The two rappers in this compliment each other by being different to each other in every way, so it’s like listening to two different perspectives on one subject. Vast Aire brings the great one liners that you just makes you smile and appreciate the way he thinks, while Vordul brings the complex metaphors that bring people with imaginations back. Vast voice is just great to listen to and he comes with that “I don’t give a shit attitude” but Vordul has much much longer verses and he seems to be talking to the intellects.
Through the history of hip-hop people have always tried to be different and I think that is what defines great and classic hip-hop. If someone is wearing tight jeans lets wear baggy jeans, if people are talking about guns and shit let’s talk about ninjas and shaolin shit coughwutangcough. Being different has always being what defines this culture but the catch is it has to be done well and Cannibal Ox in my honest opinion does it better than well. With beats that sound truly out of this world and metaphors that are poetic and heavy hitting and flows that are dropped great on an array of various beats. I believe every hip-hop lover should have this in their collection because it holds down the rules and is still a great piece of listening.


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PostPosted: 09/30/04 04:05:43 PM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: Common - Resurrection
Reviewer: IN-feKt
Voter outcome: 18-0
Link: http://www.hiphop-elements.com/phpBB/vi ... hp?t=61807

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Album Name: Ressurection
Artist: Common
Producers: No I.D., Ynot

1. Resurrection - 5/5
2. I Used to Love H.E.R. 5/5
3. Watermelon 5/5
4. Book of Life 5/5
5. In My Own World (Check the Method) 5/5
6. Another Wasted Nite With...
7. Nuthin' to Do 5/5
8. Communism 5/5
9. WMOE
10. This Is Me 5/5
11. Orange Pineapple Juice 5/5
12. Chapter 13 (Rich Man Vs. Poor Man) 5/5
13. Maintaining 5/5
14. Sum Shit I Wrote 4.5/5
15. Pops Raps - 5/5

5/5

For me, common has been there since the beginning. When I first got into hiphop, common was one of the artists that I knew no matter what he put out it would never be horrible. This album is his best album, and to me THE best hiphop album of all time. Every track seamlessly blends into the next, every track’s quality is just as good as the last. Common really shines here as a lyricist as he puts together metaphors that you wouldn’t even think about, and his style is almost unlike any other artist out there (just listen to his charisma and delivery on tracks like “This Is Me”).

The first track, “Resurrection”, is a perfect opener track. Right away you can tell the mood of the album as soon as the first piano licks and dope scratching come in. Common comes in with some crazy rhyming. A great chillin track..

The second track, “I Used to Love H.E.R.”, is probably one of the greatest songs ever created. Common takes you through the history of rap and how it has corrupted by talking about it as if it was woman. The beat is absolutely brilliant.

“Watermelon”, Resurrection’s third track quickly changes the tone from the laid back, thought provoking “I Used to love H.E.R.” to a more fun energy filled track. Common comes in with some crazy metaphors and clever lines;

“I stand out like a nigga on a hockey team
I got goals, and I can like a pop machine”

“Me without a lyric, is like a nigga without a beeper
I'm a blow this shit out, cuz I'm the joint like reefer
If Barry White was in the mob
I still would be deeper”

“Book of Life” is just a dope track where common just reflects on his life over a slow coolin beat. While he almost whines about his life, he reassures you that he loves his life over and over again. The hook has some dope scratches…

The album’s fifth tracks, ‘In my Own World” is one of my favorites. This track is just the perfect lounging track. The song starts out with No I.D.’s lazy flow that I love so much, and common continues the song with an ill verse. The beat is perfect, jazzy vibrophones ride over some the hardest drums I’ve heard in a while.

“Nuthin To Do” is also very laid back and slow. The song is basically common reminiscin’ of his younger days over a smooth beat with wah guitars and dope saxophones. Very nice track.

“Communism” is a shorter track on the album, but nonetheless incredible. Common show cases his abilities like no other as every line has something to do with the first three letters of his name…

“I'm on some calm shit watch Com get complicated
Simple motherfuckers say the way that Com communicated
was too complex, I got a complex not to complain
on my brain no complain and so will my community
And I prefer compliments
So I complement at an angle, of ninety degrees
It's the ninties, and music got known for grease
I got a sense of direction and a compass
Come passed MC's with no compassion, though I heard the screams of
But I ain't shy, so why shall I comfort
Commiserate at the fort with Jeff I'm so ill
But I chilled in my compartment with no company and no meals
Now Com can get the panty, but I want my own company
And Com is on a mission not to work for commission
It's a common market and it's so much competition
but to me, competition is none
To my comp I'm a ton I get amped like Watts in a riot
my compact disc is a commodity, so buy it
Instead of competing with Pete
Com compromised, Com made a promise
Not to commercialize, but compound the soul
without the elements, compelling sense into Communism”

Very dope… The beat also real nice…

“Thisisme” is another favorite of mine. In this track Common uses stylish delivery to rhyme about how he loves himself and why you should too. The beat is awesome; No I.D. did a superb job on this one.

The eleventh track on Resurrection, “Orange Pineapple Juice” is another lounging track where common just does what he’s best at: rhyming.

“Chapter 13” is a another crazy ill song where common and No I.D. both rip it over a chill beat…

“Maintaining” is a track that will take you back. This track bouncy and dope, while common rips the mic like he always does…

“Sum Shit I Wrote” is another nice track, though I find it more boring than the rest. Still, Common rhymes like he always does and kills the track..


DOPE CD. Forgive the quality of the review, this is only like my second review ever…


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PostPosted: 10/20/04 11:33:11 PM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: The Roots - Illadelph Halflife
Reviewer: ArJay
Voter outcome: 19-6
Link: http://www.hiphop-elements.com/phpBB/vi ... hp?t=62211

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its kinda late in the week but hell...

1. intro
2. respond react --4/5
3. section --4/5
4. panic!! --3.5/5
5. it just dont stop --5/5
6. episodes --3.5/5
7. push up ya lighter --5/5
8. what they do --5/5
9. vs. scratch
10. concierto of the desperado --5/5
11. clones --4/5
12. universe at war --3.75/5
13. no alibi --4/5
14. dave vs. us
15. no great pretender --5/5
16. the hypnotic --4/5
17. ital (the universal side) --4/5
18. one shine --4/5
19. the adventures in wonderland --4/5
20. outro

im kinda lazy right now to type out a review track by track, but i believe that this album should be mentioned among those listed in 'certified classics'. i think i speak for many when i say this. i suggest that you get this album immediately if you have not heard it before. it is a classic by all means.

in my opinion, 'organix' and 'do you want more?!' are lacking a bit in depth and overall sound. not to say these are bad albums, i think they great. however, i think they perfected it on illadelph, and continued that streak on 'things fall apart'. ive yet to listen to 'tipping point', but i can say that on 'phrenology' they fell off a bit, it was lacking in a couple of places.

with that said, illadelph is significant in the sense that it was the beginning of the roots's style which is so highly praised. they hit the mark on illdelph while they were trying to hit same mark with 'do you want more?!' and 'organix'. theyve strayed away from this style and formula, and theres nothing wrong with that, groups must grow. but i dont think the root's new vision and artistic direction is as good as it was on Illadelph Halflife.

the bottom line, Illadelph Halflife is a classic.

VOTE OR DIE


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PostPosted: 11/23/04 09:03:14 PM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: Gravediggaz - 6 Feet Deep
Reviewer: Morten
Voter outcome: 16-4
Link: http://www.hiphop-elements.com/phpBB/vi ... hp?t=63668

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I know it wasn't my turn but someone had to do this in order to keep this thread alive...

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Label : Gee Street/V2 (1997)
Production : Prince Paul, RZA, RNS, Gatekeeper


1. Just When You Thought It Was Over (intro)
2. Constant Elevation (4,5)
3. Nowhere To Run, Nowhere to Hide (4,5)
4. Defective Trip (Trippin') (5)
5. 2 Cups Of Blood (4,5)
6. Blood Brothers (4)
7. 360 Questions (skit)
8. 1-800-Suicide (5)
9. Pass The Shovel (4)
10. Diary Of A Madman (5)
11. Mommy, What's A Gravedigga (4,5)
12. Bang Your Head (4,5)
13. Here Comes The Gravediggaz (4,5)
14. Graveyard Chamber (4,5)
15. Deathtrap (5)
16. 6 Feet Deep (4,5)
17. Rest In Peace (Outro)

Overall : 5/5

this has got to be one of the most slept on album ever in Hiphop history. It contains some of Prince Pauls best productions to date along some crazy performences by Poetic, Fruitkwan and Rza as they take turns to paint vivid pictures of their version of Hell On Earth (not to mention the guest appearences of Killah Priest, Dreddy Krueger and Shabazz to name a few). Eventhough the tone of the album is really grimey and dark you can't avoid the fact that it actually sounds like they had fun when they did this. The entire concept of the album worked 100% and spawned lots of copycat rappers (some may argue Flatlinerz were the first but...) and their horrible excuses of rapmusic can be peeped at http://www.horrorcore.com

On the follow up "The Pick, The Sickel & The shovel" they were suddently trying to ressurect the mentally dead but it worked so much better the first time round when it was just a crazy mix of horrorcore, funny ass lyrics, paranoid minds and superb beats.


I limited the voting period to 8 days so hurry up peoples


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PostPosted: 12/10/04 12:47:35 AM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Reviewer: Lost Marblez
Voter outcome: 29-0
Link: http://www.hiphop-elements.com/phpBB/vi ... hp?t=64443

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1.) Bring Da Ruckus - 4/5
2.) Shame on a Nigga - 5/5
3.) Clan in da Front - 5/5
4.) Wu Tang: 7th Chamber - 5/5
5.) Can It Be All So Simple - 4/5
6.) Mystery of Chessboxin' - 5/5
7.) Wu Tang Clan Ain't Nuttin' To F' Wit - 5/5
8.) C.R.E.A.M - 5/5
9.) Method Man - 4/5
10.) Protect Ya Neck - 5/5
11.) Tearz - 5/5
12.) Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber Pt. II - 4/5
13.) Method Man Remix - 4/5

Before the ridiculousness of the bling bling era and before emcees fell off in every direction possible there was a landmark album that made kung fu references household terms and made the word "Clan not just associated with faggots in hoods. This album was the first effort from the collective known as the Wu Tang Clan.
From the opening track with it's minimal production and rough around the edges emceeing this album was and still is something different. Rugged and never smooth this is what it's like to put a CD and grit in the oven. Wu Tang were NOT for the children back then. They were for the 'hood, the hip hop heads and the grimey folk. This was not a have accomplished album. This was raw.
Notable throughout the LP is the fact that the Wu emcees all manage to establish their own unique styles and characters. From Ghostface Killah's booming verse on the opening "Bring Da Ruckus" to Genius' laidback, reference laced flow of "Clan in da Front", each emcee formulates the unique original feeling to the album...

"The Wu is comin thru, the outcome is critical
Fuckin wit my style, is sort of like a Miracle
on 34th Street, in the Square of Herald
I gamed Ella, the bitch caught a Fitz like Gerald --
-- ine Ferraro, who's full of sorrow
Cuz the hoe didn't win but the sun will still come out tomorrow
and shine shine shine like gold mine
Here comes the drunk monk, with a quart of Ballentine
Pass the bone, kid pass the bone
Let's get on this mission like Indiana Jones, the GZA
One who just represent the Wu-Tang click
With the game and soul, of an old school flick
Like the Mack and Dolemite, who both did bids
Claudine went to Cooley High and had mad kids
so stop, the life you save may be your motherfuckin own
I'll hang your ass with this microphone
Make way for the merge of traffic
Wu-Tang's comin thru with Full Metal Jackets
God squad that's mad hard to serve
Come frontin hard, then Bernhard Goetz what he deserves"


Rza has rarely come with anything even close to his production on "Enter the Wu". From tinkling pianos to hard core guitar stabs everything is used to equate to a wholesome collection of tracks that, surprisingly, isn't always reliant on the beats.
This is hip hop as beautifully "no frills" as it gets. No guest appearences, good, original skits ("Where my killa tape at?") and verse after verse varying from braggadocio self-glory to sad tales of 'hood trife ("Tearz")...

"Yo check yo yo, check the script
Me and the gods get it ripped
Blunts in the dip, forty dogs in my lip
Had a box, 'Boom Boom' the bass will blast
We was laughing, at all the girls that passed
Conversation, brothers had begin to discuss
(Hey yo, Ra, remember that kid ya bust?)
Aw yeah, he ran, but he didn't get far
Cause I dropped him, heh heh heh heh heh HA
Not knowin, exactly what lied ahead
My little brother, my mother sent him out for bread
Get the Wonder, it's a hot day in the summer
Didn't expect, to come across, a crazy gunner
"Hey Shorty, check it for the bag and the dough"
But he was brave, looked him in the eye, and said "No!!"
Money splattered him, BOW! then he snatched the bag
In his pockets, then he jetted up the Ave.
Girls screamin, the noise up and down the block
(Hey, Rakeem!) What? (Your little brother got shot!)
I ran frantically, then I dropped down to his feet
I saw the blood, all over, the hot concrete
I picked him up, then I held him by his head
His eyes shut, that's when I knew he was...
Aw man! How do I say goodbye?
It's alway the good ones who have to die
Memories in the corner of my mind
Flashbacks, I was laughin all the time
I taught him, all about the bees and birds
But I wish I had a chance to sing these three words"


Wu Tang revoltionized slang in hip hop as well as the genre itself. This was genre defining, thick with entertainment. Even the recently deceased ODB crowns himself king of weirdness with his calls of "Gotta get up and beeeee somebody" he proves that, as Rza can often be heard chanting on the track of the same name, "Wu Tang Clan ain't nuttin' to fuck wit'".
How times change but, for now, "Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers)" is a certified classic.


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PostPosted: 12/20/04 02:32:04 AM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: Black Star - Black Star
Reviewer: Nugan
Voter outcome: 19-5
Link: http://www.hiphop-elements.com/phpBB/vi ... hp?t=64812

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When Mos Def and Talib Kweli went into the studio to record most of thier "Black Star" album Tupac and Biggie had been gunned down only months ago, and many fans were predicting "The Death of Hip-hop". When they speak about the deaths of Pac and Biggie on this album they were not joining in on a popular craze, unlike artists today who drop thier names in hope of increased album sales, they were talking about a crisis point in hip-hop culture. Gangsta rap had gone from art to tragic reality and lost its two biggest stars as a result. "Black Star" was not only a brilliant album with deep lyrics and incredible production, it was a social statement on the state of hip-hop, one that's still relevant today. Its also a classic.

The album opens, after a brief intro, with the almost poetic "Astronomy (8th Light)", which is a nostalgic, if sometimes bitter, reflection on black culture. The imagery in this songs is amazing, particularly in Mos Def's "Black like" and "Blacker than" verses. The haunting beat only adds to the nostalgic feel of this track, completing it.

The next track, "Definition" has the catchiest beat (thank you Hi-Tek) on the album, and could easily be mistaken for an upbeat song or a gangsta rap style party track as Mos Def & Kweli drop lines like: "You must know karate or think your soul is bulletproof like Sade / Stop actin like a bitch already, be a visionary / And maybe you can see your name in the column of obituary". This is quickly undercut as the song goes along, and one begins to see it for what it really is: a satirical attack on violent hip-hop and a society that has been taking life and death too lightly. Some of the attacks here really hit thier target, like: "Third rate teacher readin and talkin about, 'I knew he'd amount to nothin' / Neighbors like, 'He was the quiet type', who'd have thought they was frontin?". The name of this track also holds significance, as it attacks those who try to define all hip-hop as violent gangsta rap.

"Definition" is followed by "RE: Definition", which offers Mos & Kweli's reply to the people I mentioned above. They reflect on the way that violence in hip-hop has turned disasterous with lines like "Chasing stars in your eyes, playing games with your lives / Now the wives is widows soakin up pillows, weepin like willows / Still mo' blacks is dyin, kids ain't livin they tryin / How to Make a Slave by Willie Lynch is still applyin". The shift from an upbeat to slow in the beat helps to support this change in tone. Its almost as if this song is grieving the loss of fun in hip-hop.

This is followed by Mos Def's remake of Slick Rick's classic "Children's Story". Here Rick's purse thief becomes a beat thief, and the song follows his rise and fall. Mos makes good use of Slick's rhymes, and the song mirrors the original well. Definately a remake worthy of the original.

The next song, "Black Skin Lady", is an attack on the objectification of women that has long been a part of hip-hop music. Kweli and Mos definately aren't the first to make this point, but they make it effectively, and the song fits well alongside the other critiqutes of hip-hop culture.

This is followed by "B-Boys Will B Boys" a fun half skit/half song that would probably have fit better as an outro to the album, but is still effective as an intro to "K.O.S. (Determination)".

"K.O.S. (Determination)" is another song focused on combatting the self-destructive side of hip-hop. Here they offer knowledge as a way to combat the violence in culture. This is one of the more lyrically deep songs on the first section of the album, and has production that fits its theme perfectly.

"Hater Players" doubles as a show of Mos & Kweli's lyrical talent and an attack on artists who try to use the term "hater" to protect themselves from legitimate attacks on thier lack of talent. Some of the lines here are just great, like "Stones in orbit, refuse to forfeit/ They all form a cipher, and they came to observe it / I follow suit, and face it, embrace it / Shinin bright, but still I’m careful not to waste it / Destined to rise, because I’m basement adjacent".

The next skit, "Yo Yeah" serves as a good transition to the two darker, deeper songs to follow.

Common makes a strong guest appearance on "Respiration", which is easily the second best track on this album lyrically. This brilliant song about inner city life really speaks for itsself. Even the hook is deep, which rarely happens, comparing the city to a living organism, and making the three MCs part of that creature.

The next track, "Thieves in the Night", is one of my favorite hip-hop tracks of all time, the greatest lyrical achievement on this album, and the closest thing to a thesis that it has. Here Mos and Kweli reflect on the violence in hip-hop, the violent society that has helped to create it, and the materialism that fuels it all. Almost all of the lines are brilliant, but my favorites are: "Waitin' on someone to pity us / While we findin beauty in the hideous".

The final track, "Twice Inna Lifetime", allows the album to end on a fun note as Punchline, Wordsworth, and Jane Doe join Kweli and Mos for a upbeat lyrically clever collabo. This song also offers a bit of hope for hip-hop in a time when things were looking bleak. To me, this song says, "Can't we just have fun again?".

All in all, a brilliant album, a classic, and one of my personal favorites.

Track Rating:
1. Intro - N/A (Skit)
2. Astronomy (8th Light) - 5/5
3. Definition - 5/5
4. RE:Definition - 5/5
5. Children's Story - 5/5
6. Brown Skin Lady - 4.5/5
7. B Boys Will B Boys - 4.5/5 (If its not a skit)
8. K.O.S. (Determination) - 5/5
9. Hater Players - 5/5
10. Yo Yeah - N/A (Skit)
11. Respiration - 5/5 (Would be higher if that was possible)
12. Thieves In The Night - 5/5(See above)
13. Twice Inna Lifetime - 5/5

Overall - 5/5


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PostPosted: 01/05/05 08:47:38 PM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: Nas - Illmatic
Reviewer: Morgul
Voter outcome: 28-0
Link: http://www.hiphop-elements.com/phpBB/vi ... hp?t=65102

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Image
Production: DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, Q-Tip, L.E.S.

1. Genesis (5)
2. NY State of Mind (5)
3. Life's a Bitch (feat. AZ) (5)
4. The World Is Yours (5)
5. Halftime (5)
6. Memory Lane (Sittin' in Da Park) (5)
7. One Love (5)
8. One Time For Your Mind (5)
9. Represent (5)
10. It Ain't Hard To Tell (5)

Overal rating: 5/5

The album starts of nice with Genesis, a nice little intro. We hear Nas & someone else (AZ?) talking, in the background Nas' verse on Main Sources 'Live at The BBQ', which has to be one of the illest verses ever:
Street's disciple, my raps are trifle
I shoot slugs from my brain just like a rifle
Stampede the stage, I leave the microphone split
Play Mr. Tuffy while I'm on some Pretty Tone shit
Verbal assassin, my architect pleases
When I was twelve, I went to hell for snuffin Jesus
Nasty Nas is a rebel to America
Police murderer, I'm causin hysteria
My troops roll up with a strange force
I was trapped in a cage and let out by the Main Source
Swimmin in women like a lifeguard
Put on a bulletproof nigga I strike hard
Kidnap the President's wife without a plan
And hangin niggaz like the Ku Klux Klan
I melt mics till the sound waves over
Before steppin to me you'd rather step to Jehovah
Slammin MC's on cement
Cause verbally, I'm iller than a AIDS patient
I move swift and uplift
your mind shoot the gift when I riff in rhyme
Rappin sniper, speakin real words
My thoughts react, like Steven Spielberg's
Poetry attacks, paragraphs punch hard
My brain is insane, I'm out to lunch God
Science is dropped, my raps are toxic
My voicebox locks and excels like a rocket


After the intro we get NY State of Mind, produced by DJ Premier. The beat on this song has to be one of the illest beats Premier ever made and Nas' verses make the song even doper (I could listen to an instrumental of it for hours though). Nas talks about criminal life in N.Y. over the dark piano beat. Premier's scratches between the verses sample a Rakim line: "New York State of Mind".
Then, having heard the superiority of track 2 we come to track 3 entitled Life's a Bitch. This song is the first time we hear AZ (the Visualiza). The beat is one of L.E.S. finest productions and AZ drops his illest verse ever (IMO) on this song, so let me post the verse for y'all:
Visualizin the realism of life and actuality
Fuck who's the baddest a person's status depends on salary
And my mentality is, money orientated
I'm destined to live the dream for all my peeps who never made it
cause yeah, we were beginners in the hood as five percenters
But somethin must of got in us cause all of us turned to sinners
Now some, restin in peace and some are sittin in San Quentin
Others such as myself are tryin to carry on tradition
Keepin the schwepervesence street ghetto essence inside us
Cause it provides us with the proper insight to guide us
Even though, we know somehow we all gotta go
but as long as we leavin thievin we'll be leavin with some kind of dough
so, and to that day we expire and turn to vapors
me and my capers-ll be somewhere stackin plenty papers
Keepin it real, packin steel, gettin high
Cause life's a bitch and then you die


The chorus is ill too: "Life's a bitch and then you die; that's why we get high. Cause you never know when you're gonna go. Life's a bitch and then you die; that's why we puff lye. Cause you never know when you're gonna go." Classic song, lyrics are brilliant, both Nas and AZ come of at their best. Olu Dara (Nas' father) plays the trumpet at the end.
Next is 'The World is Yours' with classic Pete Rock production. The title speaks for itself, and Nas comes up with his usual flow (which is dope). Pete Rock does the chorus together with Nas. We got one line on this song which is very well known, since it's one of the reasons the Nas & Jay-Z beef started (a whole lotta years later tho):
I'm out for presidents to represent me (Say what?)
I'm out for presidents to represent me (Say what?)
I'm out for dead presidents to represent me

Jay-Z sampled this line for his song 'Dead Presidents' which is a dope track as well, check it out on Reasonable Doubt.
Up till now, the 4 songs have been dope as fuck. Not many rappers know how to maintain the same dopeness over the whole album, but Nas does a brilliant job on this album, cause all songs are 5/5, and Halftime is no exception. Halftime is the only track heard before the release of Illmatic. It was released after Nas' first appearance, but Nas included it on Illmatic. Halftime is dope all around; Large Professor laces Nas with a great beat and Nas is on point with the lyrics.
Track 6 is another Premier-track. IMO Memory Lane has the illest beat on the album, but I know not many agree with me on that one. But you gotta admit it's a dope beat, one of Premiers finer works. Nas drops memories from his youth.
After Memory Lane we get One Love. By many this song is seen as one of Nas' best, and I can agree with them. One Love is just as all the other tracks on this album dope. Production is handled by Q-Tip.
One Love is followed by One Time For Your Mind, again a Large Pro laced track. Beat is ill, Nas is ill too.
Then we got Represent which has Nas representing Queenbridge. It's a more up-tempo track but it's great. Premier brings again a fine beat and Nas comes up with the good stuff.
We've come to the end of the album (it's too soon, I know) with 'It Ain't Hard To Tell', another Large Professor track. Nas comes up with the dope lyrics, so let me post the first verse:
It ain't hard to tell, I excel, then prevail
The mic is contacted, I attract clientele
My mic check is life or death, breathin a sniper's breath
I exhale the yellow smoke of buddha through righteous steps
Deep like The Shinin', sparkle like a diamond
Sneak a uzi on the island in my army jacket linin
Hit the Earth like a comet, invasion
Nas is like the Afrocentric Asian, half-man, half-amazin
Cause in my physical, I can express through song
Delete stress like Motrin, then extend strong
I drank Moet with Medusa, give her shotguns in hell
From the spliff that I lift and inhale, it ain't hard to tell


So we've had the album, although a few more songs would've been great, it's still dope as fuck. Nas never topped Illmatic, but that doesn't bother me, most of his other albums are good to great too. One is pretty close to Illmatic: The Lost Tapes, but then again, the songs on there are from different times and I don't consider it an actual album (more like a sort of EP).
Illmatic is dope allround, none of the songs is below 5/5. Production nor lyrics come short. Nas hooked up some of the best producers out there during that age and he himself came up with some of the dopest lyrics which ever came out of his mouth.

Classic.

:afro:


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PostPosted: 01/18/05 05:35:35 AM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: Black Moon - Enta Da Stage
Reviewer: MZA
Voter outcome: 11-1
Link: http://www.hiphop-elements.com/phpBB/vi ... hp?t=65525

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Fall 1993, Nervous Records/Wreck Records[/b]

Image

1 - Powerful Impak! (5)
2 - Niguz Talk Shit (6)
3 - Who Got Da Props? (5)
4 - Ack Like U Want It (6)
5 - Buck Em Down (4.5)
6 - Black Smif-N-Wessun (5)
7 - Son Get Wrec (4.5)
8 - Make Munne (5)
9 - Slave (5)
10 - I Got Cha Opin (6)
11 - Shit Iz Real (4.5)
12 - Enta Da Stage (5)
13 - How Many MC's... (5)
14 - U Da Man (5)

Black Moon dropped this classic back in 1993 as the first release from the Boot Camp Clik. It set the tone for what they were all about; raw, grimy, dark beats, with simple melodies over them courtesy of DJ Evil Dee and Da Beatminerz. The bleak beats were accompanied by flows that typified that New York style of the time. Stories straight from the hood, real life issues right there. But the BCC came with a less straight frward style, pulling in hints of reggae style in thier music and flows.

This wasn't the party music or in ya-face-violence gangsta rap that was coming over from the west coast at the time (and doinating the charts), and Black Moons debut was one of the albums that was putting the east back on the map as the dominant force. They, along with the Wu and the likes of Gang starr were painting the dark pictures of hood life, taking no prisoners with their style or content, and re-establishing NYC as the hip hop mecca.

5ft and Buckshot's flows are near flawless across the album. These guys had honed their skills on the underground circuit, and it shows, bringing a mix of dark, original street stories and a bit of gangsta bragging lyricism aswell. I was going to get some examples of lyrics in here, but im not into typing that shit up, or finding a site to copy-and-paste. If youre voting you know what these guys are about, and if you dont, go buy the LP.

Enta Da Stage was perhaps deserving of more props than it got. But saying that, this was very much an underground release, and its 200,000 units sold and #2 single on the Billboard charts in 1994 with 'Buck em down' was testament to the impact and undeniable quality of this LP.
But looking back, its right up there with the major player from that year - "36 Chambers" - as one of the greatest of all time, surely.

Personally i dont think that this is as good as fellow BCC members', Smif-n-Wessun's 1995 classic "Dah Shinin'", but i reviewed Black Moon as this was the first from BBC, and whilst maybe not quite as brilliant, was probably more important.

So there ya go....

Black Moon "Enta da Stage" - 5 / 5


C L A S S I C


go vote..... and be nice, this is my first review here.


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PostPosted: 02/02/05 06:48:48 PM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: Tha Alkaholiks - 21 And Over
Reviewer: Sai
Voter outcome: 11-9
Link: http://bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=65984

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Image

1993 Loud Records

Production
E-Swift: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10
Derick Williams: 4
King Tee: 6
Loot Pack: 5, 9

1. Likwit (feat. King Tee) - 5
2. Only When I'm Drunk - 5
3. Last Call - 5
4. Can't Tell Me Shit - 4.5
5. Turn Tha Party Out (feat. Lootpack) - 5
6. Bullshit (feat. King Tee) - 5
7. Soda Pop (feat. Field Trip) - 5
8. Make Room - 5
9. Mary Jane - 4.5
10. Who Dem Niggas (feat. Threat) - 5

Overall: 5 / 5


Rappers talkin' 'bout back to the old school
You never shoulda left in the first place, fool


I love this album. Everything about it. The beats, the lyrics, the atmosphere, the length, the misconceptions, everything. It's the quintessential party album that happens to be much more. Clocking in at barely over 35 minutes and 10 tracks long, "21 & Over" isn't overly ambitious, it isn't ground-breaking, it isn't epic, but it's one of the most consistent, bumping albums ever made.

A lot of people think that Tha Alkaholiks are little more than a simple-minded party group, spitting typical party, weed/alcohol lyrics over some pretty damn good beats. Those people are wrong. Is it a great party album? Undoubtedly, but, besides that, Tash and J-Ro were amongst the best at the time. Most of their lyrics focused on their namesake, but they were versatile and clever enough to never grow stale. Only two lines, courtesy of J-Ro on "Bullshit", need to be cited:

I drive the hoes wild 'cause they love the way I talk
They can't drive me crazy 'cause I'm close enough to walk


That small, disregarded moment sums up Tha Alkaholiks playful, but technically aware style. Although they never fully explore their duo's chemistry, Tash and J-Ro compliment each other nicely, bringing slightly different styles revolving around similar subject matter. With top notch deliveries and often hilarious lyrics most people can relate to, Tash and J-Ro (and, to a lesser extent, E-Swift) provided some of the most forgotten, enjoyable performances to come out of the early 90s westcoast scene.

Aside from the notable rhyming, there's the even more notable beats, primarily provided by the overlooked, underrated E-Swift. Had he stopped producing after "21 & Over", he would still be worth remembering. Providing catchy loops mixed with gritty drums and bass, E-Swift combined an upbeat party climate with the unmistakable early 90s street sound. The beats are in constant motion, with samples weaving in and out, sometimes only making one appearance in three minutes. Thanks to E-Swift, there's no low point musically. To put it simply, almost every beat on here could have been a satisfying single.

With a stylistically westcoast album that played towards the party scene more than the gangsta one, Tha Alkaholiks were able to produce a classic on their first swing. The album's not burdeningly serious, it's not depressing, it's not a grim look at life, it's not filled with gun-talk, but it still manages to be an identifyable westcoast banger. Abandoning the trends of the time and adopting a more light-hearted mode, Tha Alkaholiks offered something fresh and switched it up enough to be excellent technical MCs, not just one-dimensional frat-boys. The album isn't very historically important to hiphop, it didn't change the scene forever, it didn't pioneer new techniques, but it did help prove that an album doesn't need to do any of those to be great and can be great in its own right. "21 & Over" is the essential party album that both manages to be technically impressive and bang for its entire duration, descriptions that few albums can live up to.


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PostPosted: 03/09/05 05:59:41 PM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: Naughty By Nature - Naughty By Nature
Reviewer: Morten
Voter outcome: 10-2
Link: http://bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=66497

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Image

Label: Tommy Boy (1991)
Production: Kay Gee (trk 9 by Luis “Louie Louie” Vega)

1.Yoke The Joker (5)
2. Wickedest Man Alive (w/Queen Latifah) (4)
3. O.P.P (5)
4. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright (aka Ghetto Bastard) (6)
5. Let The Ho’s Go (5)
6. Everyday All Day (4,5)
7. Guard Your Grill (6)
8. Pin The Tail On The Donkey (4,5)
9. 1,2,3 (w/Apache & Lakim Shabazz) (5)
10. Strike A Nerve (5)
11. Rhyme’ll Shine On (w/Aphrodity) (5)
12. Thankx For Sleepwalking (5)

Overall: 5/5

People are sleeping on Naughty By Nature! No, I’m not talking about the horrible “19naughty9” or the under whelming “iiconz”, I’m talking about their super dope self-titled sophomore album. When you think hiphop crossover think Naughty By Nature. When you think Hip Hop Anthem think Naughty By Nature. When you think hard rhymes and funky production think Naughty By Nature.

The album starts off with a bang on Yoke The Joker where Treach destroys the mic over flawless production with lines like: Take that ass to the point you have to ask for your ass back
A fuckin joker smoker, taunted by no one / If I was born in Chung Li's temple I would've turned out a shogun / Smack the any-and-all talk, jokers I can't hawk / And all that shit I hear about me losin is small talk

Wickedest Man Alive suffers a bit from the corny saxophone but Latifah sounds nice on the hook. “O.P.P” is probably one of the biggest crossover singles ever catering both to Hiphop crowds and pop charts all over the world. The Jackson 5 sample is used perfectly and Treach & Kay Gee creates the first of what would become a string of anthems made to make heads bop from New Jersey to Hong Kong. They quickly follow up with the socially tinged “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” which is by far my favourite tracks from the album despite the constant airplay in 91. The opening lines set the tone: Some get a little and some get none / Some catch a bad one and some leave the job half done / I was one who never had and always mad / Never knew my dad, mother fuck the fag!

“Guard Your Grill” is another perfect example of why this album is so damn dope. Treach destroys all competition over

Without being to hard on Vinnie it’s a relief that he don’t show up until his verse on “Pin The Tail On The Donkey” which is vintage back to back rhyming from him and Treach. Apparently someone then told Vin he was dope so he decided to mess up their next 4 albums.

The NWA sample on “1-2-3” set’s the tone for what is arguably one of the most slept on posse cuts. Just check Lakim Shabazz’ opening verse: weak rappers are full of this / Since I'm a Don I'm pullin out a hit / cos I'm fired up, I'm tired of all the bullshit / Flavor Unit, it's time to attack the prey / So make way for hip-hop's green beret. Simple as hell but it’s all in the delivery!

On “Strike A Nerve” someone let’s Vin close to the mic again but Kay Gee and Treach still save the song and turn it into an enjoyable track.

As you may have noticed the weakest link on this album is without a doubt Vin Roc. He’s really not that bad but when the lead MC is as dope as Treach you should just stick to being a hype man. Thankfully he sticks to choruses on most of the album. What makes this album such a success is the combination of smooth radio friendly beats from Kay Gee and hardcore street rhymes from Treach and together they create not only a hiphop classic but a pop classic as well. Forget how tired you were of “O.P.P” when this album comes out and give it a new listen. I can guarantee you won’t regret it!!

Naughty By Nature trivia
* Treach has done a porno movie
* Their first album “Independent Leaders” was releases under the name New Force.
* The weapon Treach is holding on the cover was stolen shortly before “19naughtyIII” was released.
* Uptown Anthem” was included on later versions of this album

Once again I made a limit on the poll so it will expire in 2 weeks (vote or die!)


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PostPosted: 03/22/05 10:44:01 PM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
Reviewer: SarX
Voter outcome: 23-0
Link: http://bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=67662

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Image
Now, as for the track listing:

1. Excursions - 5/5
2. Buggin' Out - 4.5/5
3. Rap Promoter - 5/5 (what performer can't sympathize with this song?)
4. Butter - 5/5 (this beat is sooo sick, my favorite on the album)
5. Verses from the Abstract - 5/5
6. Show Business - 5/5 (feat. Daimond D, Sadat X, Lord Jamar)
7. Vibes and Stuff - 4.5/5 (this track is a little bland, but still on point)
8. Infamous Date Rape - 5/5
9. Check the Rhime - 5/5
10. Everything is Fair - 5/5
11. Jazz (We've Got) - 5/5
12. Skypager - 5/5 (Love the bassline)
13. What? - 5/5 (Some might call it a bit repetetive but I think it's ill)
14. Scenario -5/5 (feat. Leaders of the New School)

Some might say that Midnight Marauders is the superior album, but I'd prefer to throw debatable classics and have them possibly get denied than just put up albums that are unanimously agreed upon. I'll leave that to some of the other guys doing the reviews.

This album is incredibly solid, from beginning to end each track touches different subject matter, but it always stays thematic in sound, and always makes you bob your head. This album also reminds us of the days when rappers didn't fill their albums with cameos that detract from their sound. Both the cameos on this album only help add to it's incredible sound.

The album starts off with Excursions, one of the album's best tracks, and the momentum never lets up. Although Buggin' Out is in my opinion the album's weakest point, Rap Promoter picks right back up and talks about the shadiness of promoters and their tendency to take advantage of artists.

The sick production of Butter is one of the highpoints of the album, you can't help but move to the beat. Q-Tip's lyrical stylings shine on Verses from the Abstract, and then the cameos on Show Business hype you up.

The whole middle of the album is just as solid as the start, but this album really shines, in my opinion, during it's final three tracks.

Skypager has an awesome bassline sample and the delivery that Q Tip uses on this song makes me realize why he's a pioneer. Then he continues with the questioning of What? (which is far better than Jadakiss' "Why?"), another example of a great groove laced with thought provoking rhymes. The album then ends on one of the greatest cameo tracks ever, Scenario. There's a reason my group ends all our shows with a cover of this song, it is the hypest. Nothing gets the crowd moving quite like this track. Charlie Brown drops a verse that is way ahead of it's time in terms of delivery and rhyme scheme, but MCs kill it all around the board, especially the back and forth lyricism of Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes (in his heyday).

The only bad thing I could say about this album is that the tracks in the middle tend to blend together a bit. The production style is very similar on them and though individually dope, when played consecutively you sometimes sort of lose your place. Otherwise, this album is in my opinion, a definitive hiphop classic.


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PostPosted: 05/07/05 02:17:40 AM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: Mobb Deep - The Infamous
Reviewer: mbb
Voter outcome: 22-3
Link: http://bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?p=857975

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Image

Label: Loud Records
Release: 1995
Production: Havoc, The Abstract

I saw all these COTW threads and no love for The Mobb...So, what better way to show love than to create my own thread with my own review of this album. Now, this in no way justifies what will turn out to be the release of two very disappointing (re: wack) albums, Infamy and Amerika's Nightmare...On to the review..

1. Start of Your Ending-No intro to this album...The first track of this album introduces listeners to a duo that has grown immensely from the childish days of "Hit It From the Back." From the first note of the piano to the raw drums, you can already picture the streets of NY and Prodigy's voice, delivery, etc. blend perfectly...A great start to an album. There's no hook to speak of, just cuts of people speaking4.5/5

2. Infamous Prelude-For those interested in how the Prodigy/Keith Murray beef started, here's a history lesson. Otherwise, it's just Prodigy talking shit...Not even ratable.

3. Survival of the Fittest-One of many classic tracks by The M-O double B. Production on this joint is flawless. "There's a war goin on outside no man is safe from." Need I say more? 5/5

4. Eye For An Eye-This track features Nas and the Chef himself Raekwon. One of the hardest hitting beats on the album, this track shows how much Prodigy and Havoc have come, as neither is outshined by the more renowned guest stars. "We in this together son, your beef is mine." The hook is infectuous, yet still rugged and raw. Another flawless track 5/5

5. Just Step Interlude- Prodigy and affiliate, Big Noyd trade freestyle verses about prison, the streets, whatever...4.5/5 Listened to in the context of the whole album it serves as a good transition into following track.

6. Give Up The Goods-Most say that Big Noyd stole the show here, and I have no problem with that assessment; however, I still think Prodigy is the lyrical star here. Again, I can't find anything wrong with this track as it provides a great head bopping laced with that grimey shit 5/5..Produced by The Abstract.

7. Temperature's Rising-I actually think this is one of the best tracks on here, and that's saying a lot for it. It finds a female vocalist on the hook, and Havoc and P tell the tale of a former associate who got snitched on. "We'll chop they body up in 6 degrees of separation." 5/5 It's tracks like this that make me wonder why they received so much hate for that 112 joint. Also produced by The Abstract

8. Up North Trip-Tells the story of someone finding himself on that long trip up north, behind bars. Once again, Havoc's production combined with both voices, makes for a haunting real portrayal of the mind of a soon to be convict. "My heart pumps foul blood through my atteries." 5/5

9. Trife Life- We get two stories on this track.. First, Prodigy tells of a former girlfriend who sets him up bad with people from her neighborhood. Havoc tells us what happens to those who venture into QB to visit their girls...another track with excellent production. I still can't say enough of how well Prodigy sounds over these tracks 5/5

10. QU-Hectic-OK. This is my favorite song. PERIOD. All genres, all artists. There's not a whole lot to this beat but the drums, occasional horns, etc...Make this in my opinion the darkest song on here. "Ain't nothing soft or sweet/I'll lift you off your feet/When I cock back the heat whole crews retreat." This song paints a picture of the NY streetlife in a way that not many before or since have done. 5/5

11. Right Back At You-Probably one of my least favorite tracks on here...However, I don't skip any, and with Raekwon coming back and Ghostface making an appearance, how can you possibly hate on this? "The place where stars are born and phony rappers get done."4.5

12. The Grave Prelude-Reminiscent of Shymeeck got bust in the head two times god...It's a skit that reenacts the aftereffects of a shootout and the loss of life. Not really ratable, serves its purpose.

13. Cradle to the Grave-Now, at this point in the album, one might expect a letdown, maybe a drop in the production, lyrics, something...But not the case here. Once again the duo from QB paints a superb picture of the streetlife, this time dealing with a member of the crew who went sour. One of my personal favorites. 4.5

14. Drink Away the Pain-The third track produced by the Abstract finds him also enjoying a guest appearance. With the saxophone and the verses from Havoc and Prodigy treating Alcohol as their love interest, this is probably the most unconventional or 'different' track on the album...Pretty personal considering Havoc's struggle with alcohol abuse. The only problem is Q-Tip's verse...He sets up this whole crime caper with the characters being the names of fashion designers...What the hell was he thinking? I don't know...Overall an enjoyable song, but 4/5

15. Shook Ones Pt. II-Probably most people's favorite joint on here and definitely the most recognizable. Not a whole to say except, "To all the killers and the hundred dollar billers/The real niggas who ain't got no feelings." 5/5

16. Party Over-Another track featuring Big Noyd. I think this is the weakest track on the whole album, and any album that has this as its weakest track is pretty damn good album. There's really nothing wrong with it, just that if one track has to be the weakest this is it. 4/5

Overall I would put this as one of the best 5 albums that has come out of hip hop. If you're from the hood, streets, whatever, there's no way that you won't relate to the stories told or landscapes painted...And Prodigy's voice will be immortalized as one of the most rugged...There's a reason that the lyrics from this album have been sampled about as much as any other...It's full of quotables..We might say Nas' Illmatic gave us an insight into the heart and soul of the ghetto youth struggling to find his way, etc...Havoc and Prodigy have given us the smell and taste of the blood stained timberlands and smoking barrel in the hands of the kids in the street. I honestly think this is one of the most honest and unapologetic travels into the thug life.

Definite classic.


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PostPosted: 06/06/05 12:00:43 PM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: DJ Shadow - Endtroducing
Reviewer: Morgul
Voter outcome: 11-5
Link: http://bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=70328

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Release date: November 19, 1996

Quite a difficult album to review but I picked it because it's one of my favourite albums of all time. Sometimes when I listen to this album I think this is just a whole band playing songs, but then I come back to the reality that everything is sampled. It truely is remarkable how Shadow puts samples together to whole new songs. Considering this was put out in 1996 it's pretty darn original and groundbreaking in all of its aspects. DJ Shadow creates a very strange and beautiful atmosphere on this album which I never noticed on another hip hop album. However, is Endtroducing a hip hop album? I'm not sure. I've heard people call it triphop but that doesn't quite fit the style either if you ask me. It's actually pretty darn hard to fit this album in a genre, it combines so many different genres that it kind of creates a style of it's own. The samples are very 'versatile' to put it that way, another evidence that Shadow is a true crate digger an that his musical interests are very wide. Anyway, enough with the bullshit, on to the album:

1: Best Foot Forward: A nice little intro. We here DJ Shadow doing his thing on the ones and twos. A lot of samples in here. 5/5
2. Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt: One of the better songs on the album. It starts of with the beautiful piano loop which is heard throughout the whole song, with someone telling about how he just wants to continue express himself. After that the drum kicks in and the song just keeps evolving with more samples coming in, ranging from a children queer to some more piano notes. Also, DJ Shadow lets some people say their thing about how they feel about making music and stuff. It kind of reflects his own feelings about making music (in his own way. That is, by sampling) I think. This is only the first song on the album but already now you can sense the genius of Josh Davis (a.k.a. DJ Shadow). By throwing a whole bunch of different samples together in a song of 6 minutes and 39 seconds, he creates a very remarkable atmosphere. The only credited sample is 'I Feel A New Shadow', but the artist is not mentioned. 5/5
3. The Number Song: DJ Shadow is a versatile producer, yet, he does have his own style. The Number Song is a perfect example of that. It doesn't sound like Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt but in a way you definitely can hear Shadow's touch in it. This song is built up with a heavy drum and some distorted guitar samples. However, a whole song with that would be a little boring so Shadow decided to show his DJ'ing skills on this track so we hear a lot of scratching. Also, the drum is not just a loop getting repeated constantly but it's a very complex drum. The only credited sample here is 'Orion' but again, no artist is mentioned. 5/5
4. Changeling: This song is again more something like Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt, although it doesn't have the emotional feeling that song has. This one is more a song to chill out to. The song starts off with some short notes from an instrument I don't recognise, and then the drum kicks in. And like that Changeling goes on for 7 minutes, however, there's not a moment which sounds boring to me. Shadow keeps adding more layers to the song and keeps it interesting like that. Credited sample: 'Invisible Units' by Tangerine Dream. 5/5
5. Transmission 1: A little interlude, nothing special about it. 4.5/5
6. What Does Your Soul Look Like (part 4): The fourth and last part of the What Does Your Soul Look Like series and just like the three other parts it's great. It's another song with a chill feeling to it. The song also has some very extraordinary vocals on it, which actually is just a voice making some weird sounds. 5/5
7. Untitled track: A pretty funny track, we hear a simple beat playing and someone telling about some girls, weird shit, but funny. 5/5
8. Stem/Long Stem: A very contradicting song. It starts off with a very emotional guitar (at least that's what I think it is) loop with some tinkling sounds in the background. But then, a very heavy drum kicks in. This drum could have easily fit in a heavy metal track. I personally love this. Besides the contradicting, it's all very well put together and the song has a very apart feeling to it. Around 3 and a half minute the song stops and falls to complete silence. Then, an organ starts playing some simple notes and after a while the guitar starts playing again. However, also that disappears again and Shadow lets us hear some soundscapes with the bassdrum kicking on regular timings. The song ends with the guitar and a cello playing over the soundscapes and eventually the song fades away. This is one of my favourite tracks on this album (and probably also one of my favourite tracks ever made) and it's definitely a very original song. Credited sample: 'Love Suite' but the artist is not said. 6/5
9. Transmission 2: A short song but it's beautiful. Another song to just chill out to (actually the whole album is good to chill out to). 5/5
10. Mutual Slump: If you decided to fall asleep during listening this album (which would be a shame) and you fell asleep before this song there's a very good chance you'll wake up now. The first sound of Mutual Slump is a very weird and loud sound after which the song kicks in. This song has yet again a very extraordinary drum, not often heard in hiphop songs. But then again, I don't know if you can qualify this album as pure hiphop. Not only are the drums very extraordinary, a lot of the samples are not really common either. Samples range from Buddhist queers (the song ends with this by the way) to electric guitar notes, so you can imagine the variety of this song. Credited sample: 'Possibly Maybe' but no artist is mentioned. 5/5
11. Organ Donor: You remember the organ from Stem/Long Stem? Well, in Organ Donor we get that as well. But! We also get a solo with it! Some funky and funny shit. I love it although it's only 1 and a half minute long. 5/5
12. Why Hip Hop Sucks In '96: It's the money! 5/5
13. Midnight In A Perfect World: Another beautiful song. This is yet again on of those songs you just need to sit down to and listen to the greatness of Shadow's mind. I don't really know how to describe this song actually, just listen to it. Credited sample: 'The Madness Subsides' by Pekka Pohoja. One of the best tracks of the album 6/5
14. Napalm Brain/Scatter Brain: The longest song on the album (9:21) but unfortunately not the greatest (which doesn't mean a lot tho, it's still fucking great). The song starts off with a funny conversation and then the drum starts with the bassline over it. After almost 3 minutes a guitar kicks in to again fade way at around 4 minutes. After that we get something which can be seen as a drum solo and at 6 minutes the song kicks in again in full action. IMO this song stands apart from all the rest of the album, it's not really comparable to the rest. Not saying it isn't great, but it definitely isn't of the same calibre as Midnight In A Perfect World. It ends beautiful tho. 4.75/5
15. What Does Your Soul Look Like (part 1 - Blue Sky Revisit): As I already stated with What Does Your Soul Look Like (part 4), all four parts of the series are great. This one is the best if you ask me. It's the ultimate song to chill out to and another showcase of Shadow's sampling skills. There's some man singing something in Italian (I THINK it's Italian at least) in the song, so that's evidence that Shadow is not scared to pick weird samples. It samples 'The Voice Of The Saxophones' from an artist we don't get the name from. 5/5
16. Transmission 3: Weird outtro, very weird. 4/5


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PostPosted: 06/16/05 03:50:38 AM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 9042
Location: Tustin, CA
Album: Masta Ace - Slaughtahouse
Reviewer: MZA
Voter outcome: 7-3 :(
Link: http://bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=70717

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Masta Ace Incorporated - "Slaughtahouse"

Delicious Vinyl, 1993

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Production : Masta Ace, Uneek, Orlando Aguillen (Exec), Bluez Brothers, Beatheads, Latief

1. Walk Thru the Valley (5)
2. Slaughtahouse (5)
3. Late Model Sedan (5)
4. Jeep Ass Niguh (5)
5. Big East (4.5)
6. Jack B. Nimble (5)
7. Boom Bashin’ (4.5)
8. Mad Wunz (5)
9. Style Wars (5)
10. Who U Jackin’ ? (4)
11. Rollin’ Wit Umdadda (5)
12. Ain’t U Da Masta (4.5)
13. Crazy Drunken Style (5)
14. Don’t F*** Around (Outro) (4.5)
15. Saturday Nite Live (5)

Overall : 5/5


Masta Ace has been consistently releasing dope albums for getting on nearly two decades now, but undoubtedly the pinnacle came in 1993, when Masta Ace Inc. dropped Slaughtahouse. This album just comes straight out and hits you, and doesn’t let go until the final track.

The beats on this album are hard as nails, and, in my opinion, up there with some of the most consistent (over an album) from the era despite the lack of a high profile behind the boards. This didn’t matter though, because they kept of the funk from ‘Take a Look Around’ with some horns laced over the percussion. The use of other instruments, especially the jarring piano rhythms and bass (‘Late Model Sedan’, ‘Jeep Ass Niguh’, ‘Jack B. Nimble’, ‘Crazy Drunken Style’ etc.) needs pumpin on this record, because Slaughtahouse brings some of the most head-nodding tracks from a very competitive year for hip-hop.

Ace’s lyrics on this album are often all out attack on many aspects of hip-hop back then. He takes no prisoners in flaming a lot of the more gangsta ideas of the early 90’s, hitting out at the rappers who talk about murder, drugs and weapons. Ace also takes swipes at the police and at some stages, the ‘wack MC’s’. These topics weren’t exactly original, but then again he covers it entertainingly, and doesn’t dwell on it. What Ace excels on with Slaughtahouse are the more conscious messages he brings about surviving the ghetto and the pointlessness and regressive effects of the gang (and non-gang related) murders in the hood. Ace’s uncompromising approach to this topic, is however, tempered with a touch of humour and story-telling in some of his lyrics, which gives a near-perfect balance of raw, hard-hitting content without ever being overwhelming (check out ‘A Walk Through The Valley’).

This record will have your brain thinking while your heads nodding from start to finish. Everyone knows the classic ‘Jeep Ass Niguh’ and the posse cut ‘Saturday Nite Live’, but this record is brimming with classic tracks throughout. Ace’s crew never let him down either, and when they appear on tracks, they appear on point and manage to maintain the quality of the record. Hard, grimy, but funky beats combined with Ace’s brilliant smooth flow and raw but compelling lyrics form an LP that stands up as one of the greatest of it’s time, and personally on the greatest ever.

Go vote.


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PostPosted: 06/29/05 11:56:13 PM 
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Joined: 11/26/01 05:00:00 PM
Posts: 13441
Location: In The Sun
Album: Mos Def - Black on Both Sides
Reviewer: FuStandStillFu
Voter outcome: 18-9
Link: http://bb.hiphop-elements.com/viewtopic.php?t=71024

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Rawkus Records, 1999.

'Black On Both Sides' is the debut album from Brooklyn based MC Mos Def. I've known of and
liked Mos Def since '94-'95 when he appeared on 'Manifest Destiny' with his brother DCQ and
his sister Ces. So I had high expectations for the solo LP. Especially after his stirling
work/single on Soundbombing Vol.1 'Universal Magnatic' b/w 'If You Can Huh You Can Hear'.
Another collaberative effort saw him team up with Talib Kweli to produce the Blackstar
album in 1997.
The same year 'Black On Both Sides' dropped, so did Soundbombing Vol.2. Mos appeared on
the impressive High N Mighty track 'B-Boy Document 99', as well as performing the dope
'Next Universe' track. Establishing Mos as Rawkus records front runner.
Vol.2 also featured the classic Medina Green joint 'Crosstown Beef', Medina Green being
the group he and the aforementioned brother (DCQ) formed. Around that time was basically
the prime of Rawkus, and some say the prime of Mos... after his dissapointing recent
effort 'The New Danger'.

The album is about so many things. Firstly a love of hiphop, and the birthplace of hiphop,
Brooklyn. Then about black and political consciousness. Displayed on 'New World Water'
is a little rapped about economical hot point. 'Mathematics' is a roll call of statistics
listing discrimination against black people, and what better way to make a point than over
a Dj Premier produced beat. Mos carries off everything he touches on this album, percussion
drums, congas, vibraphone AND keyboards.The talent is displayed on the albums closing track
'May-December' where he also plays the bass!
His singing voice, to some, is a debatable feature of the man. I personally think it sounds
good, and he uses it to good effect, most notably on the track 'Umi Says'.

At numerous points on the album, he pays respect to the architects. On the track 'Brooklyn'
he makes use of the Nashiem Myrick beat that Biggie Smalls famously ripped 'Who Shot Ya'
which also contains a re-assembled version of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers song 'Under The
Bridge' .
He also exhibits his influence on the least easy-to-listen-to track on the album,
Rock 'N Roll, which despite sounding out of place and misjointed is a clever point well
made, a dissection of White America's history of abducting black musical innovation.
The influence is the original black rock 'n rollers John Coltrane, James Brown, Otis
Redding, etc.

'Ms Fat Booty' is the clear repeatable-ta-death track. Aretha Franklin plays her part!
(One Step) A love song with an unforseen conclusion. Produced by Ayatollah, so you know
it's a banger. Mos performs the usual fluid rhyming, with the typical line of quotable
flow points;


"I'm type polite but now I'm lookin at her skeptically 'cause baby girl got all
the right weaponry designer fabric, shoes, and accessories chinky eyes, sweet voice is
*fucking* on me mentally."

Back when Busta was dope he dropped a few verses on the excellent back and forth collab
'Do It Now' produced by Mr Khaliyl, which is yet another dope component combined with the
other facets of the album, it has to be classic!!

Fear Not Of Man - Acts as an opening to the album, just getting you into the correct
mindstate. Produced by Mos Def
HipHop - 5/5 - "Speech is my hammer bang the world into shape", enough said! Beat
by Diamond from D.I.T.C.
Love - 5/5 - Produced by 88 Keys, Documenting emotions and different things Mos has
distributed 'love' to.
Ms Fat Booty - 6/5 - Produced by Ayatollah. Bangs
Speed Law - 5/5 - Produced by 88 Keys.
Do It Now ft/ Busta Rhymes - 5/5 - Produced by Mr Khaliyl.
Got - 5/5 - Produced by Ali Shaheed Muhammed.
Umi Says - 4.75/5 - Produced by Mos Def.
New World Water - 5/5 - Produced by Psycho Les.
Rock 'N Roll - 3/5 - Produced by Psycho Les.
Know That ft/ Talib Kweli - 5/5 - Produced by Ayatollah.
Climb - 4/5 - Produced by Etch-A-Sketch.
Brooklyn - 5/5 - Produced by Ge-ology, Mos Def & Dave Kennedy.
Habitat - 5/5 - Produced by Etch-A-Sketch.
Mr Nigga ft/ Q TIp - 5/5 - Produced by D-Prosper.
Mathematics - 5/5 - Produced by DJ Premier.
May-December - 4/5 - Produced by 88 Keys & Mos Def.

In conclusion; Mos talks about the power struggle that was and still is
taking place in hiphop; "There is universal law whether rich or poor some
say life’s a game to more life is war so put them ego’s to the side and get
off them head trips/". Politically relevant AND dope, few artists at this
time can combine those 2 things...

Classic!!!

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