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by
21 June, 2004@12:00 am
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     Time is of the essence. If you wait too long it can become your worst enemy. Age is the biggest variable in hip-hop today. There are some, but not many, who age like fine wine, while others never know when to quit. Closing in on almost two (yes two) decades in the game, transcending hip hop from generation to generation, Erick Sermon is stepping back into the ring to show these kids that he’s still got it. He’s done more than enough to stake his claim in the hip hop hall of fame. So why is it he’s coming back? Why? Some people have this thing called love which they can never get rid of and it just keeps on bringing them back. But like KRS-ONE says, “love’s gonna get ya”….. With heart full of love, Erick Sermon delivers Chilltown New York, attempting to shake cupid’s curse.

      Chilltown New York serves as Erick Sermon’s soapbox to speak on his views as to what’s wrong with hip hop today. Apparently Erick is aware the newer generation of hip-hop does not having the slightest clue of the legacy he forged a decade and a half ago as one half of EPMD and feels that Chilltown New York is the perfect place to reiterate it. Since most of the younger hip-hop heads only know him for the radio smash “Music”, it is only appropriate that Erick schools the young’ns in “Green Eyed Bandit History, 101.” From the jump, Erick lets his trademark lackadaisical flow punctuate his legacy. The title track serves as the perfect introduction to those that don’t know of the E double. In one of the more notable moments from the album, Erick addresses the ongoing rumor of his sexuality on “Relentless”, as he states “Rappers and others who tried to offend me/false accusations they heard from Wendy/I’m in the game to play/for those cats on the sidelines calling me gay” (which still leaves the question unanswered). Even his skits are worthy of a few hearty chuckles as he toys with Matrix-esque pills, where if the blue pill is taken, he will be guaranteed of less sales, like Smilez & Southstar, while the red pill will give him sales like Ruben Studdard and Hillary Duff. Which one would you rather take?

      For years Erick has been known for his work behind the boards and Chilltown New York is no different. As the funk injected signature vibe of “I’m Not Him” pounds through your speakers, Erick stands up as the cat that hasn’t played advocate to the changing times. The Redman assisted “Future Thug” oozes of some southern bounce as Erick takes his style down bottom. Moments like these and the mirror rattling thump of the standout “Street Hop” will have many checking their history books to find out exactly who this green eyed guy is.

       His creativeness does hit a few snags, as the obvious crossover attempt “Feel It” recycles Sean Paul’s “Like Glue”, with an un-inventive sound that lags throughout. He also borrows Missy Elliott’s flow from “Hot”, on “With E’s”, with lame results. At times throughout the CD, he begins to show his age on the mic. When rhyming side by side with Talib Kweli, the green eyed bandit’s age becomes the point of discussion. Meanwhile, “Chillin”, which successfully interpolates Audio Two’s “Top Billin”, lets Erick acknowledge his distaste with having to grow with the times, as he states “Call me washed up yeah talk about me/I sound like me, you sound like Jay-Z.” But as the album wears on, it becomes just too monotonous, and even guest spots from his newest protege, Sy Scott, can’t help save the album from its repetitious state.

      It seems that time has indeed caught up with Erick Sermon.  As he suffers from not being able to excite over his own production throughout Chilltown, New York, it becomes apparent that his time on the mic is beginning to come to an end. But no matter what happens, the name Erick Sermon will live on forever, even if he has to remind the newer generation of who he is on his latest LP.

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