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17 February, 2004@12:00 am

      While majors pump out unhealthy, processed hip-hop, Tony Touch’s The Piece Maker II has been relegated to indie label, Koch.  However, a smaller label hasn’t affected the impressive guest list boasted on 2000′s The Piece Maker.  Joining Toca in bringing some straight hip-hop shit are Redman, Fat Joe, Raekwon, Pete Rock, Dead Prez, and many others.     

            While not the main focus, Touch’s unmistakable PR pride adds a unique dimension to the album.  Joining Touch to slang crazy Spanglish over sharp violin hits and a bumpy bassline on “Capicu”, Fat Joe, N.O.R.E., and Juju Of The Beatnuts bring entertaining belligerence.  Especially the Junkyard Dog, who screams: “Fuck you nigga, how you feel?/You fragile like Ally McBeal/Snap you in half, what the fuck is the deal?”. The Latin-flavored drums on poetic “Spoken Word” and “Tony Navaja,” add to the vibe and are refreshing.  

Although not super lyrical, Touch’s simple similes and old-school braggadious rhymes keep up with his guests.  Forgotten bad boys, Black Rob and G. Dep, sound rejuvenated alongside P. Diddy and Touch on the NY anthem “Non-Stop”.  While the rawness of “Rock Steady”, will give you flashbacks of ’93 with Wu-Tang Clan killing a hypnotic xylophone loop.

    There’s little the listener can be upset with on Piece Maker II, but a couple cuts could have been left off.  “Ay Ay Ay”, is a boring and contrived attempt to capitalize on Sean Paul’s platinum status.  And it’s obvious from Hurricane G’s sloppy spitting, that she hasn’t rhymed since the predecessor, on “Spanish Harlem 2″ with Toca and the Cocoa Brovaz.

      When people talk about real hip-hop, it seems like a hazy ideal.  Even though it’s hard to pinpoint, when listening to The Piece Maker II, there’s a tacit understanding that this qualifies.  Already a legend, another quality album shows why Tony Touch hasn’t left yet, the game needs him.  

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