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3 June, 2003@12:00 am

Over the past five or so years, The High & Mighty’s record label, Eastern Conference has struggled to raise above levels of obscurity through several releases that they have somehow played a role in, whether it be DJ Mighty Mi lending his production to Tame One’s album, or Mr. Eon rhyming alongside Cage as the Smut Peddlers. Regardless, with ten albums under their belt, Eastern Conference is taking this rap shit serious, and with The Weathermen’s The Conspiracy Mix CD, they’ve solidified a team of emcees who wreck shit on virtually every track.

    First and foremost, this isn’t The Weathermen album – so anyone looking for a full album of posse cuts from Cage, El-P, Copywrite, Camu Tao, Y@k Ballz, Jakki Tha MotaMouth, Breezly Brewin, Tame-One, and Vast Aire will not find it here, as you’ll have to look to The New Left later this year. What this is instead, is their answer to the 50 Cent street bootleg, a collection of freestyles over today’s hottest beats (all samples cleared? You can ask Biz…), as well as a few never-heard before cuts from the crew. 

    The disc is set off with “Made You Shit Your Pants”, where Nas “Made You Look” gets rained on by the Weathermen, with a show-stealing Cage who takes it home with “Most of all your favorite artists made ya’ll slaves to garbage / the instrumental dropped, they raped the carcass / then it’s off to the living for cannibalism, no kidding / cuz rap is dying and they didn’t make no ribbon!” Moving right into “Missy Done Justice” over Missy Elliott’s throwback joint of the year “Gossip Folks”, as El does his best Missy impression (funny), while Camu-Tao adopts Ludacris’ flow and almost outshines it.  However, while rhymes from Copywrite, Tame, Jakki, and Cage over their renditions of Erick Sermon’s “React” and Baby’s “What Happened To That Boy” are dope, their forced interpolations of the hooks could have been left alone. 

     But the true heat on this album isn’t among the freestyles, as they just sew it all together as something accessible for the average listener. The real heat on this album lies in the original tracks, such as Copywrite’s post High Exhaulted graduation joint, “10 Times” – an obnoxious Przm produced banger that further defines his style as nasty emcee. Peep the excellent “Chris Lighty”, where Vast Aire shares an incredible track with producer Camu Tao, or the ridiculous RJD2 produced “5 Left In The Clip (Remix)”, where the core Weathermen let loose, and save the best for last with Brewin’s Breezily approach.  

      While the Weathermen may catch a little flack for playing Ice Cube and jacking a bunch of popular beats to get your attention, on the other hand, it’s safe to say that it’s better to see these guys over these beats instead of wasting them on people like Trina and Baby. But again, the real meat is within the original selections included here. If these tracks are any indication of what The Weathermen have planned for their album, there’s gonna be a storm mo’fuckas.

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