a brief hiatus (NFL Draft anyone?), the Dr. Hunter Thompson of this rap shit
is back with more reviews and couldn't pick one to smack-da-dat better than
my menz DJ Elev-8 and DJ Lennox on they 4th edition of Mixtape Phenoms. They
got the name from Jimmy Snuka, obviously. Industry note: There are some critics
out there who feel they are too close to certain individuals to critique, there
are certains that feel since they are so close to others they critique more
harshly, and then there are dickriders. I'm nonadat. If you want clips, I got
clips. Bring the heat. Earlier this year I've been quoted by saying Green Lantern's
5 Star Gen was a 4 clip classic and well I'm wrong. Call it a 3. I've
been listening to it numerous times and it's got plenty of holes. Still a must-cop.
As for DJ Kool Kid, The Diesel 3.0 still got fiends on the floor for days shit
is near flawless. Technically, if you ask DJs-and you know I'm talking to you-they
will criticize the blends with they own words. Fine, and all. But are most mixtape
listeners gonna go, "Ayo that rhyme was offline with the beat." No,
never. They just listening for a dope artist, with dope lyrics, over a dope
beat. I'm lying. My dude Nick B from Big Things Productions noticed 2Pac's "Until
the End of Time" offbeat with the "Shadowboxing" instrumental,
but the 2nd and 3rd verses with the added "Get Around" snippets are
genius! Homie also noticed that Beanie, not Peedie, rhymes to the beat of "Rapture's
Delight," on Len's "Gotta Have It" blend. Too repetitious for
the rhymes if you ask me. Of course the technicalities of all this must be mastered,
to some extent, but this is the Mixtape Business. Let's not get all crazy. These
CD's are $7 a piece.
Now what does all
this garb have to do with Mixtape Phenoms 4? Absolutely nil. It's a double disc,
so promise you, this may be the longest mixtape review you'll ever read-AND
YOU WILL READ IT NOW, WON'T YOU? Going bassawkwards, Ft. Laudi's DJ Elev-8 knows
when the infrared Cannon shoots off both discs filled with blends, exclusive
freestyles, dope joints at-the-moment, and other blahzay. Attention: Scram Jones
is the illest producer on the mic. Sorry Kanye. For beats, "Guerilla Shit"
by Tragedy Khadafi and the Chef is lethal (what's with D-Block freestyling over
instrumentals that aren't even out yet?); for rhymes, Jones proves his worth
over beats from "Safe 2 Say" to "Realms of J.M." with his
hoarse mic cadence and lyrics that should appeal to gangster whiteboys nationwide.
If anything, these Goodfellaz, that be DJ Elev-8 and DJ Lennox, get plenty of
drops all over they discs. Tony Touch and Kay Slay included. Scram, of course,
along with Kool G. Rap, Nas, and Capone make sure you know they hosting, and
Mobb Deep even check in for they own exclusive freestyle. Official shit, true;
we do know these Goodfellaz can spin, blend and just about all of the music
is mixed. Check the older Phenoms tapes or Lennox' Live Big for more proof.
Speaking of Big, "Why I Love You" is a little somber to begin the
second disc; has anyone put Faith Evans with B.I.G. on a blend yet? Doesn't
that make more sense than having Mary J? Good to place Nas on the cut. If not
for a lack of selling out, the King of New York would never be a debate. Continuing
Big, his rare freestyle with Mr. Cee is here, and completely out-of-place with
its horrific sound quality. This should've been a bonus. Same goes for G. Rap's
duet with Nas. While both are lost gems a.k.a. hidden hook-ups, they fuck up
the continuity within the mix. After all, we want what Goodfellaz do best. Check
Lennox's horn-spouting "I'm Black" or Elev-8's "Bridging the
Gap" blend for examples. A lot of peeps don't like the Nas joint with pops
but they will this time. Trust it. Tape ain't all Krispy Kremes tho kiddies
Shells helps define the word "typical" with the World Premiere, "NY
'05." Don't forget, homes DID lose the Blaze Battle to a Mormon. Shit sucks.
So do the Dolla Boyz and Newz. These Kanye cohorts make Bump J seem like Jay-Z.
Even 8-year-old thug J Maul spits harder than these cats over Blondie's "Rapture's
Delight." Dang. Jo Jo Pellegrino and the Big Pun-sounding German Luger
also impress on the unsigned hype portion of tonight's program. Typically feelin'
MainO, but rhymes on "Do or Die" disappoint, especially since the
stomping backdrop is type ill. Camp Lo's "Gotcha" blatantly steals
more music from M.F. Doom. It looks like New York is quickly catching on with
the underground legend's music by stealing all his samples (check the new Alchemist
and Prodigy song for more proof). And I already told Elev-8 I didn't like the
use of the intro to Pun's verse from "Twinz" on the otherwise scorching
electric chords of "Triple Threat Pt. 2" with Nas ("Money's the
root of evil but it make you happy / Don't wanna shoot my people but still they
might clap me.") and Nature-but he did him anyway. A classic M.O.P. blend
from '98? All right man. Also funny seeing Freeway's OLD cover of "Get
Down" here and 50 Cent's addition to a freestyle cover makes no cents.
Ja-Rule and Mary J's "Streets Raised Me" is a good song that doesn't
That's the few
ugly, here's the lot good: Da Band's Ness might have a solid rap career if "New
Sheriff" (whaaattt) and the 1st disc's freestyle are any indication. DJ
Lennox comes through on The Game and Aaliyah blend. "Gangster and a gentleman,
my livin is classy / For those who don't learn they get burnt like hash shish."
Ya, D-Block-kept to a somewhat thankful minimum-over "Sound Boi Burial."
Classic blend, with Sizzla on the raga. Taking somewhat obscure harmonics and
fitting in several lyrical surprises is Len's specialty. Curious to hear Capone
over some LA gangsta shit? "Ya Honor" takes the honor of placing CNN's
next reporter over somethin' that would satisfy the appetites of the Mack 10's
and Spice 1's wesswwide Props go out to DJ Elev-8, who took time away
from browsing internet dating sites and crashing Nissan sportscars within his
preparation for 3 Fast 3 Furious, for the unexpected Jon Bovi rules-ness of
"Wanted" which displays Jae Millz and Raekwon ripping your uncle's
favorite trucker theme. "Dignified Soldiers" with its lethal lineup
of Big L, Havoc and Rakim possesses quality deejaying skills-you know, like
scratching and stuff-as does the similar "Hell On Earth" sequel with
Jadakiss, Nas, and, surprise, Lamont Coleman. So they don't sound lik even close
to real songs, but I bet it beats the other bullshit you're used to coppin'.
DJ Elev-8's best? Perhaps it's taking that insane M.O.P. beat and having (the
good) 50, Cam'Ron, and Young Buck wreckin' some shop. On this joint, each emcee's
individual "Thug Stories" remain in concept, and go along with the
what-else-but Goodfellas inserts. Eating the fried rice off the keyboard, Elev-8
tag-teams it with Lennox on the pounding bassline of "I'm A Hustla,"
complete with two beats. Again, nothing easily recognizable like say a C. Sparks
(Shout out to Ricky Davis, keep ya head up son. Pop twenty on em!) blend, but
the duo even take a page out of DJ Rondevu's book by adding Styles, DMX and
Capone to Nasir's "Streets Disciple." Buckshot's verse doesn't belong
on "NY Talk," even as G. Rap's verse from "Stick To Ya Gunz"
is the shizz of all shizz. I forgive Lennox for sweating B.I.G's nutsack more
than I sweat Saigon's ("Bin Laden" from Scram Jones is THAT!), as
his "Ain't No Fun" blend with the quite shocking Snoop surprise is
one of the best blends of 2005; "Take That Money" using the infamous
Gang Starr b-side from the "You Know My Steez" single and implementing
"Party and Bullshit" on top is pure adventure but not as intriguing
as Jada, Pun and Nore over the war-torn percussion or DJ Lennox's finest moment,
the near-perfect "2 Teks," taking Big L and Biggie over The Roots'
"Clones." It sounds as if both were in the booth for this one. Good
work mate. I'm also glad this DJ didn't forget that The Roots existed; now let's
hear some instrumentals-and rhymes-from Mos Def, Common, Outkast, and De La
Soul. Quickly, the trend of blending Eazy E and Game doesn't end with "Westside
Ridaz," joining everyone's favorite speedstick autobody mechanic and having
Fabolous join his overly-apparent idol Mase for a Neptunes blend (with the fitting
Juelz verse from "Oh Boi") gets points. Big Things appreciates.
I'm torn. Some
of the blends on Mixtape Phenoms 4 are the best blends I've heard since anything
Dirty Harry. Scram Jones, we got similar flows and production ideas, let's do
this Loose Cannons 2 mixtape, kid. But then you got shit like Pottersfield's
"Stuck," which, if you listen to hip-hop mixtapes, you've heard all
these verses, voices, beats before. There's some of that "typical"
mixtape bullshit on MPV4, and as unfortunate as it seems, it cannot be overlooked.
Yeah, so it's all true. Elev-8 is jealous of my internet-pimping skills; Lennox
might be texting my aunt on his sidekick as we speak. And while I'm hating my
labeling this effort for having the "double CD syndrome," there's
enough heat on these two discs to last 'til the 5th one smacks us all in the
grill. Next time, just make sure the hosts actually say SOMETHING. Early!