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1 January, 2001@12:00 am

Da Beatminerz (Evil Dee, Mr. Walt, Baby Paul, Chocolate Ty, and Rich Blak) gained notoriety for being the architects behind the Boot Camp Click’s emergence. Yet, after producing classic debuts for Black Moon, and Smif N Wesson, the Boot Camp Click entered a new stage, one that saw them eschew their dark, and sinister sound for a more universal appeal. When closely examining the B.C.C.’s fall from grace, it should be noted that it could be directly attributed to Beatminerz-less production.

While the B.C.C. remains lost, Da Beatminerz hope to reestablish their credentials with Brace 4 Impak. With Brace 4 Impak, Da Beatminerz obviously wanted to flaunt new wrinkles to their East Coast fashioned sound, and they do so on the sublime Caron Wheeler and Pete Rock assisted “Open”. However, a few of the crews other attempts to showcase diversity ultimately fail to deliver. Yet this blame does not fall squarely on Da Beatminerz shoulders, as the Cali throbbing of “Bentley’s & Bitches” f/ Jayo Felony & Ras Kass, and the coffee shop aura (bluesy guitar licks) of “Drama” f/ Shadez Of Brooklyn demonstrate further growth. But these selections lack a tangible symmetry, as Shadez lack the lyrical wherewithal to augment “Drama”, and the always-impressive Ras Kass outshines his mismatched partner Jayo Felony. This lack of symmetry is also prevalent on Lord Tariq & Royce Da 5-9′s “Intro: Live and Direct/Brace 4 Impak” which falters due to the track’s flat minimalist arrangement, and Cocoa Brovaz  “Extreme Situation”, which lazily tries to rehash the same Rastafarian magic the duo had with “Sound Bwoy Buriell”, with no success.

When Da Beatminerz stick to the script, and revisit the gritty hardcore steez we have come to expect from them Brace 4 Impak prospers. Embracing familiar connects, Black Moon, and Lord Have Mercy lyrically blitzkrieg “Devastatin’…”, and the Flipmode Squad  turns in another energetic performance, over the buzzsaw like effects of “Take That”. Tapping into Rawkus’ talent pool, Last Emperor  continues to build anticipation for his forthcoming solo-LP with, “Hustler’s Theme”, and Talib Kweli waxes about the complexities of romance on the aptly titled “The Anti-Love Movement” f/ Total. Yet, the true buck em down shit comes courtesy of Real World alum Heather B., and Freddie Foxxx on the ominous “How We Ride”, and the braggadocios “Shut Da Fuck Up”, f/ Apani B-Fly Emcee, and What What.

Similar to Hi-Tek’s Hi-Teknology (“Tekzilla” & “The Blast Remix” f/ Erykah Badu) Brace 4 Impak’s bottom line is hampered by tracks that are mysteriously excluded. Early samplers of the LP included two tracks, “Da Connection” f/ Ghostface Killah, Kool G Rap  & Cappadonna, and “We Run NY” f/ M.O.P. & Teflon that were last minute casualties. These two tracks certainly warranted placement, and their presence would have subtracted the fluff that was included in their place.

While Da Beatminerz’s signature D&D snare kicks, and thick drumbeats are a welcomed change of pace from all of the electronic dabbling that dominates contemporary hip-hop. The crews sonic constructions are less intense, and do not include the same neck-nodding capabilities as pervious endeavors. Has time diminished Da Beatminerz production value? No, as Brace 4 Impak is still a very diverse collection. It is just one that sways to far away from the quintessential boom-bap their earlier work exuded. Maybe a return to basics is in order, but you could say that about the entire B.C.C. collective.

  Mixtape D.L.
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