When a Definitive Jux album drops, it’s always worth checking out. You might get something amazing like Cannibal Ox’s the Cold Vein or something real solid like Mr. Lif’s Mo’ Mega and sometimes you get something that’s at least decent. The good thing is that no matter what you know everyone on Def Jux brings their best. With Hangar 18′s new album they definitely stepped up their game from their debut The Multiplatinum Debut Album, but they’ve yet to reach the highs by their label mates.
They’ve got obvious strengths, they can rhyme faster than just about anyone and they spend the majority of the album making sure you know that. While it’s impressive it often seems they’re trying to show off more than their trying to create. They open the album on a real solid tip with “Highly Anticipated”, clearly these guys are confident in their abilities and it’s a great intro to their sound and some full bass to pop in the stereo to flex the bass. When they start to take it easy on the third track “The West Wing”, it sounds real solid over a nice horn sample as they trade rhymes, they make rhyming fast sound relaxed and that’s truly a talent that Twista could learn from.
The speed rap thing isn’t too bad until they get to “That I Know I Want”, it really begins to get tiring. What is nice is the cohesion between their production and mic skills, the hyper beats do a good job of keeping up with the rapid distribution of lyrics. Once you get to Sad you’ll hear one of the albums standout tracks that kicks off with a solid sample as the beats echo under their rapid-fire delivery and everything comes together.
The latter half of the album is not reserved for the filler material found on most albums and it’s great that the album gets better the further you get into it. “Feet to Feet”, and “Really Wide” are solid songs with a great beat, if this weren’t on Def Jux I could even see these making people move on the dance floor. Next up is “Dance With Me” featuring a guest spot from Slug who helps the new cats over what sounds like a synth line from 1986. All about the dance floor and the wildlife found within it’s an understated song on an over anxious album but it plays well.
Hangar 18 has talent, and if they keep it up, their next album will be even better as these guys are clearly improving with time. If they can learn to relax the words every once in a while instead of operating their lungs like machine guns on the attack they’ll be Def Jux elite in no time. – Dane Johnson
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