When the East Coast independent scene was only in its infant stages in ’96, the upfront crew Non-Phixion was right there helping pave the way for a new era of hip-hop. Remember the single “5 Boros” or its b-side “4 W’s”? After years of dealing with botched record deals with everyone from MC Serch’s Serchlite Music to the British rock imprint Matador, Non-Phixion put the future of their music into their own hands releasing everything under their own Uncle Howie label. With only one full-length to their name (The Future Is Now), this four-man crew made a wise decision in releasing The Green CD. Here, the fans are given nearly 70 minutes of unreleased songs and freestyles in addition to a DVD full of live performances, videos, and glimpses into the lives of Non-Phixion.
True mix tapes may be a thing of the past, but The Green CD truly plays like one. As each song/freestyle blends into each other, the electricity of this energized crew never ceases. The childhood flashback single “Caught Between Worlds” and its commanding b-side “We All Bleed” are obvious standouts. These songs also sound like the only recently recorded ones on the CD. “Make It Happen” featuring DV Alias Khrist, for example, sounds like it was recorded in the Illmatic era, but still bangs, nonetheless. Many of the freestyles were obviously pulled deep from the vaults, but they make this collection a proper showcase of the dues Non-Phixion has paid in hip-hop. Check the “Doo Wop Freestyle” (sample lyric: “My mind frame’s like jumping backwards out of planes”) or the “Hot 97.1 Freestyle” (sample lyric: “Ask yourself: How can we obtain true equality when the value and price of life is less than technology?”) to see just how heated and militant this crew can get on the mic.
While the energy on The Green CD doesn’t falter, the classic production heard on Non-Phixion’s album, The Future is Now, courtesy of DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, Necro, and others is missed. The beats on The Green CD may be on point, but it’s the unadulterated lyrics of Non-Phixion that make this time capsule of an album truly worth your time. Until their sophomore album, Nuclear Truth, drops next fall, Non-Phixion’s The Green CD should hold the fans over just fine. ï»¿
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