It’s been 8 years since we heard a compilation album from the one and only DJ Revolution. Touted as maybe the best scratch DJ in the game, the anticipation was high for King of the Decks. Before we get into the album itself, let’s talk about the demise of the DJ over the last 8 years. Hip-Hop and the Hip-Hop DJ have slowly been on the decline since around 1999. In the 80′s and 90’s the DJ was the focal point of any hip-hop group and sometimes the superstar, i.e.: DJ Premier, Pete Rock, DJ Jazzy Jeff. Some may argue that the art of DJing itself is dead along with the culture we all know and love called hip-hop. Here to resurrect both, comes DJ Revolution with quite possibly the best compilation this year, King of the Decks.
The album starts with the Magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff breaking down what it takes to be the King of the Decks, then Revolution shows us all why he is the that title belongs to him. Not only does Revolution do all the scratches, but the entire LP is his production. Next up is the oddly paired Sean Price and Tash (from The Liks) aptly titled “King of the Decks”. Tash hasn’t lost a step and Sean Price is always solid, as Rev kills the chorus with the perfectly placed Dr. Dre sample. One of the songs we have to touch on is “The DJ” featuring the teacher KRS-One. Not only does KRS diss wack, no talent DJs but he also breaks down the rules of what not do to be a respected DJ. Every DJ should listen to this song and take it to heart. “Funky Piano” uses the familiar sample while the savior of the west coast, Bishop Lamont, along with Crooked I, ride the mic like a low-rider through South Central.
“The Big Top” starts off with a hilarious skit about the circus compared to watching rap videos today, which had this writer rolling on the ground. Special Teamz comes through and murders the track as Rev once again cuts up the Audio Two sample from “Top Billin”. DJ Revolution is so humble for a man that is at the top of the game. On “Scratch Nerds” another hilarious skit he pokes fun at those that take DJing and scratching too seriously, as well as taking subtle jabs at DJ Khaled, Whoo Kid, and others who Rev does not consider real DJs. Other stand outs include the Blaq Poet and Bumpy Knuckles collaboration “Damage”, “Casualties of Tour” which has Revolution grabbing the mic alongside Rakka Iriscience of Dilated Peoples relating to what it is like to be on tour. The battles between Q-Bert and the Re-Match of Rev vs. Spinbad are both classic hip-hop at its best without boring the listener.
There are really no drawbacks to the album; the emcees, the DJs, and the production are outstanding throughout. Taking page from Prince Paul the use of skits are executed to perfection utilizing the guests to the fullest as well as showcasing the vast talent that DJ Revolution possesses behind the turntables. If you are looking for an album that will give a renewed faith in hip-hop, pick this one up. - Darin Gloe
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