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1 January, 2000@12:00 am

Deep below the Lyricist Lounge, lurks a mysterious man known only as Will Tell. While hard at work in his basement, some think he’s a mad scientist, some others think he’s a terrorist. In actuality, he’s the man behind the man on the mic. He is a producer. One who makes beats, and one who brings back the lost art of sampling.

Will Tell surfaces with 15 tracks of his own dingy beats, teamed up with a close knit family of Brooklyn MC’s. Tell’s tracks are as underground as they get, but the quality is still on point. Murky, moody backpack beats, (that won’t put you to sleep), equipped with samples from obscure television shows and films, provide the backdrops for these fresh faces, with a number of shining moments. “Stupid” samples the Alfred Hitchcock television theme show, as the album’s shining stars, Word A’ Mouth, chant the future crooklyn kid anthem, “I’m stupid! Troopin’ through Brooklyn! What the fuck you lookin at?!” over the track’s mischievous sample. “Insane Asylum” also shows the talent of Word-A-Mouth, as Block McCloud and Mr. Metaphor take you on a captivating tour of the cuckoo’s nest, in a story like fashion.

Also showing up to wreck shop is future underground icon, Thirstin Howl III.First breaking “Language Barriers” with Word-A-Mouth, the tri-lingual emcee team freak it in English, Spanish, and even French! While this one may only keep your attention with Tell’s fun production, some may want to skip to the album’s best track, “Russian Roulette” , featuring the dream team of Thirstin Howl III, Word-A-Mouth, and Pumpkinhead. These four pass the revolver over an action packed, intense, Will Tell thriller, with one chance to bust. Really what makes this track, (as well as the whole album,) a gem is the fact that it’s nice to hear some emcees who are still hungry.

Like any release, the LP does have it’s downsides. “The Illout” uses an all too obvious sample of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise”, as young emcee, Icon prepares to get loose. When listening to him, it’s obvious he’s the baby of the crew, as he definitely needs some polishing, but still shows mad potential to transform into a super-emcee as age and experience take their toll. “Panda De Que ” is another adventure in Spanglish, but its cryptic lyrics leave out the espanol impaired, and ends up getting lost in the translation. Meatpie’s “The Thrill Is Gone” just seems a little bit out of place, with it’s blusey production, but all in all we can’t complain too much about the album’s material.

Now, your everyday hip-hop magazine reader (or writer) might look at an album with production this dirty, as “some more of that underground shit,” quick to award it another 2.5. (They killed Lootpack and Saukrates! Lost ones!) For ya’ll, go ahead and marinate on Harlem World and Lil’ Cease some more. But others who still have an ear for the foundation of this whole art, will recognize the talent that these hungry hip-hoppers have, and keep coming back for more.

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