When I heard about the new Crime Wave album Scripture Won: The Beginning Of… dropping, I had to pull out my old Shamus “Tight Team” and Crimewave “Serving Life” records for a few spins. They were records I used to spin on the regular, and news of a full length immediately brought back the craving for these old favorites. The new single “What Side You On” produced by Buckwild has impressively gone on to sell over 20,000 copies, and debuted on Billboards Hot Rap Singles Chart without the support of a major label or distribution deal. The crew has been at it ever since, and has expanded its membership to include the diverse talent of founder Shamus, Flu, Maximillan, and the newest members Skar and Karachi-Raw.
It’s obvious these cats are not only tight lyricists, but smart businessmen as well, employing such heavyweights as the Alchemist, The Beatnuts, and their former collaborator Buckwild for their debut full-length. But don’t get it twisted, the other producers on the album are not to be overshadowed, as with “Think Big (Get Big)” produced by the Smith Bros., which features a simple but tight piano loop and thumping bass. The mc’s don’t fail on their end either, delivering tight (if not thugged out) battle raps that flow perfectly over the melodic production. Putting two bangers back to back, the next song “Hard Times” features a nice, laid back track produced by Psycho Les of The Beatnuts, perfectly suited for playing at the summer barbeque, even if the subject matter isn’t quite as festive. “Johnny” produced by the Alchemist and “What Side You On” produced by Buckwild, along with the other two aforementioned tracks, definitely prove to be the standouts of this 20-track album.
Although the album has proven to have many things going for it, it is not without flaws. “Dan-Sin Teardrops” features a sample Jedi Mind Tricks fans may recognize from their track “Retaliation”, and although it’s a tight sample and the lyrics are on point, the drums stand out so much that they become a distraction. Also, “Tell Me” and “F#ck Yall” features the crew switching up to a more “Po-Pimp” delivery, which, while serving as a nice testament to their versatility, are tracks that seem inconsistent with the rest of the album.
All in all, Scripturewon: The Beginning is certainly a promising debut from a crew that has already proven their resoluteness in the rap game. It packs tight production, sharp lyrics, and undeniable street flavor that are definitely a must for any Mobb Deep, Screwball, or Infamous Mobb fan. With that said, this album probably isn’t for those who don’t appreciate the more thugged out/street flavor, but it is certain to not let down the average hip-hop head.
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