Following contributions from Jay Dee, Pete Rock, and Wil.I.Am Of Black Eyed Peas, legendary producer Marley Marl delivers his entry into the Beat Genration series, and his Re-Entry into the rap game. Many a hip-hop classic have emerged from Marley’s House Of Hits – with an incredible production resume, from mapping the entire blueprint of the Juice Crew (Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Kool G Rap, MC Shan, Masta Ace, Roxanne Shante, Craig G, for the youngsters) to helping Def Jam win its first Grammy on LL Cool J’s Mama Said Knock You Out, and more recently providing sonic backdrops for the some of QB’s finest, such as Capone-N-Noreaga and Screwball.
But while he’s more than qualified to stand and deliver for BBE’s Beat Generation series, Re-Entry, unfortunately, is the series’ weakest link. Marley’s production isn’t to blame – especially considering that he captures the essence of his early days on many of the tracks; the problems with the album lie in the selection of lackluster and rookie emcees. “Foundation Symphony”, for instance, features a juiceless crew of young upstarts, each trying to impress Marley with copycat rhyme styles of whatever’s popular. These same cats also get their time to “shine” on tracks like “So Good”, where Je Whales’ lucky lady is shown true devotion when he promises “I’ll suck a fart out your ass / no reason to frown”. Ooookay…. And even while Big Daddy Kane’s contribution (“Three’s Company”) stands only mildy entertaining, don’t call it a comeback.
Still, with the exception of a few tracks where the vocalists and the beats actually do blend well together (“Low Budget Soul” w/ Grap Luva, “Hummin’” w/ Roy Ayers), Marley’s production is appreciated on most of the album. “Foundation Sympony” and “Spazz” (feat. Kyron of Screwball) both recycle overused samples (“Mardi Gras”, “Cramp Your Style”), but Marley puts his own unique twiston these old favorites. And it’s a true accomplishment when you can craft together a song like “Just Funky”, by sampling your own classic records, joining them in one cohesive idea.
Ironically, listeners of Marley Marl’s Re-Entry may instead want to show him the door. While his body of work alone stands impressive, this album is about as memorable as his last attempt some ten years ago, In Control Volume 2. Remember that? Didn’t think so.
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