Working as it’s sixth release, (count ‘em), Take It Or Squeeze It is probably The Beatnuts’ most solid project since the glory days of the classic Intoxicated Demons EP. Much has changed since the days of their debut; no longer is their sound as jazzy as it once was, not to mention the fact that they lost a member along the way. The Beatnuts have evolved throughout the course of their career, and has either reached the point of perfecting their sound, or maybe we’re just getting used to it.
Both “Off The Books” and “Watch Out Now” carried their last two albums, but despite a few memorable album cuts sprinkled in between, the consistency of a solid full-length release just wasn’t there. Thankfully, for the first time in years, Da Nuts have pieced together a full-length project that can be listened to from start to finish, heavy on the mayonnaise.
The Beatnuts’ production has become such an original sound, that it is a wonder that rappers aren’t knocking on their doors as much as DJ Premier’s or Rockwilder’s. The lead single, “No Escapin’ This”, as well as it’s b-side, “It’s Da Nuts” are perfect examples of what the full-length has to offer – raw production with style that can only be credited to The Beatnuts. The Afro-Spanish influence in the beats alone separate Da Nuts from anyone else out there, whether it’s the Greg Nice fueled party starter “Yo Yo Yo” or the addictive high of “Contact”. Stranger selections keep it movin’, such as “If It Ain’t Gangsta”, “Hammer Time”, or “Prendelo (Light It Up)” each as different as they are dope.
While the ambitions of Psycho Les and Juju still remain to fuck, drink beer, and smoke some shit, when their doing it over beats as good as these, it could turn even Mormons and bookworms into a psycho dwarves. Following tradition, the hoe-hoppin’ tales that started with “Story” are continued on both “Mayonnaise” and “Hood Thang”, still treading the line of what’s disgusting and what’s funny. But with lines like: “My whole click’s starvin’ like a jail cafeteria / while you on the block suckin’ cock, I’m in Siberia,” sprinkled throughout the album, how can you not crack a smile?
While “Hood Thang”, as well as the iffy “Let’s Get Doe” (feat. Fatman Scoop) are obviously a little more watered down than the standard Beatnuts fare, these somewhat lame attempts at getting commercial attention aren’t completely useless, as for the most part they still stick to the script. And while some may feel that the over extended guest list detracts from the album, remember that the missing third of the trio, Al Tariq, isn’t always around anymore to fill in those empty last verses, (but thankfully he does pop up once or twice on this album).
While it has taken them several attempts to deliver the audience a solid full-length release, they’ve finally done it with Take It Or Squeeze It. Perhaps this will up the ante for popular rappers to get a track or two from those fuckin’ Beatnut guys. Prendelo!
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