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11 January, 2004@12:00 am

     Record industry rule #2434: Hip hop has no love for its own veterans. If you check for a list of emcees who have survived for more than a decade, you will probably find a list of rappers who are barely breathing the same venom that made them famous. Either they are existing because of sex appeal or because of acting qualities, not for giving tracks a lyrical lashing. Even shorter is a list of emcees who haven’t released an abundance of original material in over a decade and not only are recognized, but receive love from the short attention span of today’s hip-hop generation. But rules are made to be broken. In the past decade Black Moon has released only two albums, and they are back to attempt to snatch an ear of today’s youth and inform them who really got props. Since the release of their opus, Enta Da Stage, Black Moon, 5 FT, and Evil Dee have gone on somewhat of a hip hop hiatus. While Enta Da Stage was deemed a classic, it seemed as if Black Moon was more concerned with promoting their own fam, the Boot Camp Clik, instead of releasing albums of their own material. However, what really kept them from releasing consectutive albums was a bad contract with Nervous, and even with the War Zone being released below radar, it gave the impression that Boot Camp Click was priority and Black Moon was a thing of the past. Well fear not, because Black Moon is showing fans, new and old, that their swords are still sharp with their third release, Total Eclipse.

     Total Eclipse is quite possibly the most solid comeback album of the past decade. With their street bravado in tact, they approach this album with a certain vengeance and hunger not witnessed with today’s hip-hop veterans. As the album jumps off with the ridiculous “Stay Real”, it affirms their position among hip-hops elite. Utilizing the same sample Just Blaze tore to shreds on Jay-Z’s Black Album interlude, the Beatminerz furnish a much darker experience as
Buck lets loose all over the track as the hook states “It’s the key to longetivity, and I’ma show you niggas why they all remember me, stay real, never change, it’s a lot of suckers who running this game and busting them things.” Total Eclipse is littered with the usual gun toting, industry slander, keeping shit as real as possible lingo that they have perfected for the last decade, however the great thing is that when Black Moon does it, the results sound just so refreshing. Check Buckshot’s lyrical prowess on “Confusion”: “Industry rule number ten-thousand-and-eighty/Record company niggaz are sha-deeeeeee, bay-bee/Definitely, never may-be; you’ll have to be/a pain in da ass like – FUCK YOU, PAY ME/Crazy? Picture me slippin, like a broke
transmission/I got both positions, I own both dimensions/I write poems for commissions/I’m the
leader for da squad when da Gods in a hard predicament/Like, got a hot group but need they
contracts right/Or got jerked for your publishin last fight/Now you wanna act tight, let me give you ad-vice/It don’t matter if you that nice/Cause da bottom line is da kind of mind, not da kind of rhyme/Signed and sealed, delivered, delivered and signed/Right now I know you wanna get yours I’m at my prime, so I got to get mine, before I’m out my mind…”

     With no disrespect to 5ft, it always has been the drawl of the BDI thug who kept the Black Moon train from derailing. When the two emcees rumble through the gutter production of “That’s How it Iz” offering their own rules of the industry, the listener can’t help but nod their head not only along with the beat but in agreence with the no frills emcees. And don’t think it’s a Black Moon album without the family in tow. Sean Price trades inquisitions with BDI thug on “What Would U Do” and Smif N Wesson lend that Bucktown flavor to the Asian flavored “That’s The Way Shit Iz.” The production alone is worth checking out as the Beatminerz as well as some unfamiliar faces endow Total Eclipse with an incredibly dope, yet evil street grounded production only worthy of that Black Moon trademark. From the mean strings of “Confusion” featuring Sean Price to the thumping finale “Rush”, Black Moon substantiates that gutter resonance.

 While not ground breaking or a commercial smash, Black Moon makes its mark with Total Eclipse. Giving fans of both generations strong beats and rough rhymes to keep heads noddin was the ultimate purpose here. And even though they are spotted only once every 4 years, it makes each release the only thing that matters. Black Moon proves that they are more than worth the wait, the only problem is how long will we have to wait for them to make another comeback??

  Mixtape D.L.
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