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by D.T. Swinga
26 September, 2003@12:00 am
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We’ve been waving the Apathy flag for a few years now, ever since he released that solid string of 12-inch singles on Bronx Science, back when co-pilot Celph Titled  was making shit happen over at Buds Distribution. Apathy struck while the iron was hot, being one of the last artists to survive the indy 12-inch boom, and come out of it with a full-fledged record deal with Atlantic. While in the process, Ap was defining his crew, The Demigodz, as each 7L & Esoteric, Rise, El Fudge, Celph Titled, Louis Logic, & the rest were doing the same with their own indy releases. Now that the indy hip-hop market is dominated by CD’s, rather than 12-inch vinyl singles, Apathy brings It’s the Bootleg Muthafuckas, a massive 2-disc set which encompasses just about every recording he’s released to date, with the exception of the material he’s saved for Eastern Philosophy, as well as his highly anticipated Atlantic debut.

     As this release sets the stage for his mainstream home invasion (and has been doing so for the last few years with the individual release of each song), it shows the versatility of Apathy, as well as how he has progressed as an emcee. In his earlier sessions, Apathy was a somewhat of a super-scientifical emcee in the vein of Canibus  or Pharaohe Monch with his over-extended rhymes within rhymes and acrobatic vocal inflections, spitting “I manifest with cybernetic explosions to overload ya modem / and break they cryptic simplistic firewalls / I assault with fireballs…” on “Compatible” (1999). But he still was the one who made fun of those that took their science book rhymes too seriously, case in point on “We Get Down” (1997): “All you space prophets in your rockets / you can ‘analyze your optic sockets’ when you try to rock it / you bore me with all of your galactical cosmic stories / take a deep breath and come with something hotter for me.” 

    But Ap soon broke out of this short stint of smart rap, dropping the “Alien Tongue” from his name, and spitting harder rhymes, upstaging all of his crew members on “The Smackdown” (1999) with this hilarious classic intro “When I be spittin’ raps / rippin’ wax / gats start clickin’ back / Chickens act frickin’ wack backstage lickin’ sacs / Suckin’ nuts fuckin’ sluts up in butts bustin’ up / Jealous rappers runnin’ up but they need to toughen up”. Ap maintained his position of taste later on “Science of the Bumrush” (2001), spitting “These underground backpacker’s think I’m crazy / Cuz my favorite emcees are Biggie Smalls and Jay-Z.” 

    But whatever mood Ap was in, one thing remained clear throughout the entire disc, all styles and flows aside, Apathy’s main goal was to make classic songs. Along with his quotable lyrics, Ap made sure almost every time that the beat he was spitting on was dope, and the classic sound of the early 90′s is transcended into his music. You can hear it in the horns of the brand new recording “Don’t Talk to Me” (2003), the mellow feeing of “Hip-Hop Groupies”, or the heartfelt rhymes and production of either mix of “That Ol’ Boom Bap”. It’s amazing that with almost fifty songs on this CD, that Apathy could have actually kept the quality control this on point!!

      At this incredible length, what this CD will do is not only remind you what an incredible lyricist & songwriter Apathy is (peep “School”; 2001), but also what an all around dope crew he runs with. In his early career, he spit on several posse cuts, many of which defined what the late 90′s indy hip-hop era was (see Eddie Ill & D.L. Freestyle; 1998). What keeps this CD an entertaining listen throughout are not just Apathy’s rhymes, but his equally tight crew as well - peep Rise on just about any of the six tracks he appears on, with his trademark laid back, cool punch rhymes that will have you laughing out loud, or check out Celph Titled’s ambidexterity as he produces 1/4 of the disc, while spitting ridiculous lyrics such as “I spit, but really never got nothin’ to say / every verse is full of curses words and plenty of gun spray / but I don’t give a fuck / this is how I write rap flows / you probably listen to Common and rock them tight ass clothes!” (“Ya’ll Ain’t Good Enough”). With a guest list include Louis Logic, Esoteric, Open Mic, C-Rayz Walz, Vinnie Paz, Punch & Words, and others, this disc is a lyrical tour-de-force. 

     Best of all, while you’ve heard it all before, every track on this disc has been digitally remastered, some tracks even re-recorded, making this the definitive Apathy collection. For those that don’t know, or who were turntable deficient during Ap’s 12-inch run, this is the next big thing, jump on now.

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