Compilation; no rating given.
Third in their series of forward-thinking, genre-bending, yet true to the heart hip-hop, El-P’s Definitive Jux imprint delivers their latest compilation disc, jam-packed with 16 new selections from Jukies new and old. Working simultaneously as a symbol of what the label is and what’s to come, this comp showcases the growing stable of artists housed under the Def Jux banner.
The album floats back and forth between material from pre-established Def Jux allstars and the hard-working up and comers. Head honco El-P doesn’t grace us with any new solo material, but nevertheless provides two excellent collaborative tracks, both of which showcase his more down-to-earth rhyme style. The hilarious “WMR” presents El and Camu Tao a la Rae and Ghost at the “MGM”, as the duo running amuck at the MTV Video Music Awards (live in stere-areo), assaulting various celebrities from Usher to Sheryl Crow, while the more somber Belief produced “Oxycontin Pt. 2″ weaves a dark tale of drug dependency with each El, Cage, and Alex playing the respective roles. Meanwhile, two of last year’s Def rookies, Murs and S.A. Smash (Camu & Metro), step their rap game up with selections that show steady improvement from both. Murs teams up with budding producer Aesop Rock, who together churn out “You’re Dead To Me”, and the end result is a track that fares excellent lyrically (“Controversy costs less than a full page ad”), and defines the Definitive Jux sound, with a beat that could have easily landed on The Cold Vein. S.A. Smash also light things up with “Devil In The Hole”, which not only showcases Camu’s vastly underrated talent on the boards, but also the duo’s potential to rock the club with energetic delivery and a classic rock inspired hook. Meanwhile, one of the most exciting joint on the album is the latest offering from The Perceptionists, on the funky “Medical Aid”, as Mr. Lif, Akrobatik, and DJ Fakts One play like a millennial Erick, Parrish, and DJ Scratch, which will leave fans drooling for an album.
After only hearing one or two tracks from some of the new talent, it is harder to grasp onto the newer artists, simply because of the unfamiliarity with their styles, voices, or flows. Hangar 18 (Alaska & Windnbreeze) deliver two honest-efforts on the LP, however one of the most interesting new artists on the compilation is Carnage, who on “Make News”, delivers gritty street rhymes over a malicious beat by Cannibal Ox collaborator, NASA. While it may be too early to tell who the label’s next Aesop Rock will be, with successive material released from each of these new artists (Hangar 18, Carnage, 4th Pyramid, Despot, Rob Sonic), ultimately the fans will decide who the label’s next superstars are.
In essence, DJXP3 picks up right where its predecessor left off with the same intent – to show off new material from the roster, and help the newer artists get some shine as well. Closing out with an RJD2 beat (“Clean Living”), this album is a reminder that Definitive Jux is one of hip-hop’s most innovative labels today.
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