Compilation/mix cd – no rating given.
Although Jurassic 5 have been a staple of the West Coast scene for over a decade, touring incessantly, and Cut Chemist ”rode the fader” into mix collaborations like the acclaimed Brainfreeze, the group’s co-producer, DJ Nu-Mark, has been more of a recluse. He’s obviously been busy though, as this fine and funky selection of tracks not only showcases his seamless mixing, but also four of his own productions, and two upcoming projects.
The first half of the disc slides through a tasty assortment of funk 45s into a trio of DJ Premier beats and a Beatnuts skit before giving way to the instrumental “Melody”, a headnodder with so much delay that its practically dancefloor dub. This is followed by the lead single from Charli 2na’s forthcoming, Nu-Mark-produced solo LP, “Coming Through” , which is what you might expect if you haven’t heard it by now: a typically lean but punchy track with a chanted chorus, Chali’s machete-sharp delivery making up for the lacking J5 members.
Following on from Chali’s lead, the following eight MC cuts range from Vitamin D’s comedy sample-based “No Good” and RJD2′s lush contribution to the Viktor Vaughn project, “Saliva”, to a selection of crews from Germany, France, Australia and Scotland. Some of the accents and slang are as funny as the subject matter (“68 And I Owe You One” stressing how much the Scottish MC dislikes doing, er, sexual favours for women), and the beats are strong if not great (especially the DJ Paul Nice-esque “A Good Thing” and the RZA-ish strings of “Samurai”). However, in time the novelty of these cuts would probably wear off and leave them irritating for an English-only speaker. Case in point is Nu-Mark’s second collaboration of the album, with Key Kool: I’m all for international hip-hop, but a J5 cut in American-accented Japanese I can live without (and yes, Key chants the chorus).
After a short instrumental gap the mix is closed out with the last, and potentially hottest, collaboration: “Brand Nu Live”, with J-Live himself. The result is like one of the many cooled out, understated tracks from All Of the Above - good but underwhelming. Perhaps that best sums up this quality mix from a quality DJ; an enjoyable and varied old-school vibe that’s neither boring nor amazing. It would provide a funky soundtrack for the summer evenings to come, but don’t expect Hands On to drop your jaw.
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