Backed by the outstanding production of Peanut Butter Wolf and braggadocios rhymes to boot, since his 1998 debut Time Waits For No Man, Rasco has been emcee to watch. Not only does he have a voice, flow and cadence unlike any other emcee, he has that uncompromising attitude that is so lacking in today’s hip-hop landscape. Time Waits for No Man helped launch the beginning of the Stones Throw era that still reigns supreme in hip-hop today. Though he has never matched the raw, soulful vibe of Time Waits…, he still has put out reletively solid LPs over the years. However, in this writer’s humble opinion Global Threat is the best album so far this year…and you can quote that.
The version of the album reviewed here is the Japanese release, while the US retail version is still unreleased. At review time, we did not have production credits, but frankly it doesn’t matter. The album’s production is so strong that the producer’s names are irrelevant. It starts with the title track, “Global Threat”, where Rasco picks up right where Time Waits left off over an eerie violin sample and simple handclaps. Production takes a backseat to Rasco who states quite simply “this here’s a classic”. Speaking of which, “Classic”, is arguably the best track on the album - a DJ Premier-esque track that pays great homage to the man who made chopping an art form. From the scratched chorus to the ill bass line Rasco flows effortlessly over the track.
The album isn’t short on quality collaborations either. Underground staple Supastition trades verses with Ras on “Southwest” calling out fake emcees in true battle style. “Eyes Wide Shut” featuring soulstress Mary Jayne has that Beatnuts feel behind the boards, while Ras goes into storytelling mode and shows a different side. Planet Asia comes through for “That’s That Shit” reminiscent of “Likwidation”, while Royce Da 5’9 blesses “Who’s the Enemy”. Relatively unknown Concise Kilgore was mistaken for Defari on “No Time” and rounding out the album is an ill rendition of “Classic” jacking the same sample Clark Kent used for “Guess Who’s Back” by Rakim 12 years earlier.
The album is slightly more keyboarded out on the production side of things, but not enough to turn fans of more sample-based beats off. The only major drawback is the length, 21 tracks including interludes is a bit long to try to hold this A.D.D. generations attention, but if there is one underground album thus far that can do it’s Global Threat. Rasco doesn’t deviate from his subject matter, but that’s why he continues to remain relevant 11 years after his debut. Consistency pays off and this album will be one of the best albums most will never hear. – DG
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