It’s clear that if A.G. is pretty confident in his place in the hip-hop lexicon. The numerous references to his long-celebrated Diggin’ In The Crates (D.I.T.C) crew and samples of other rappers calling out his name on Get Dirty Radio will give any newcomer reason enough to Google A.G. But reminding listeners of past glories isn’t enough to hang a record on, and luckily A.G. limits the self-congratulatory rhymes and employs a new crew of track masters to round out his first album in about eight years.
D.I.T.C brethren Lord Finesse and Show appear once each on Get Dirty, allowing for some reminiscing of the early ’90s classics (see Funky Technician and Runaway Slave) and both producers deliver solid tracks. “We Don’t Care” finds Finesse using ’70s blaxploitation-era congas and horns and A.G. issuing macho raps without sounding contrived; and Show’s haunting strings on “The Struggle” work well with the rhymes about the reality of their native Bronx.
But the real gems of the album lie in the collaborations between A.G. and California-bred producers Madlib and Oh No, both of whom are Stones Throw Records staples. Because hip-hop often finds artists sticking to their regional sounds, it is big step for A.G. to move to the West Coast and begin working with producers from a well-respected, but minor independent label. Stones Throw’s aesthetics mirror those of the original D.I.T.C records (i.e., record digging) and in all the cases (Madlib’s “Frozen” and “Take A Ride” and Oh No’s “Love’) these blood brothers prove that a cross pollination of East and West coast talents may in fact lead to a great sound.
However, for all the impressive tracks garnered with the D.I.T.C. and Stones Throw-produced beats, A.G.’s album is stunted by sub-par tracks and mediocre rhymes on much of the remaining material. Little known producers Tommy Tee and DJ Design (except for his creative use of ’80s synthesizers on “Triumph”) don’t due A.G.’s legacy much justice, and the Giant himself harps on the same boring subjects (himself, his women) too often.
With that said, Get Dirty Radio has a few highlights that will keep A.G.’s name in the rap mags and on the tip of aficionados’ tongues for a while, but the throwaway tracks are enough to keep the album off any “best-of” lists and relegate it to the “uneven” category.
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