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By definition the term “Decalogue” refers to The Ten Commandments of the Bible.   Perhaps this is the reason why the highly anticipated Jedi Mind Trick beat smith’s debut album is a mere 10 tracks long. But in today’s hip-hop marketplace an album that is only 10 tracks needs to be considered a classic to be worth the consumer’s hard earned dollar. Does Decalogue make that grade?

Leading off the album is Special Teamz alum Slaine on “Allison James”, a piano laced gem with some perfectly placed cuts by an unknown turntablist.  Saigon shows up for “When the Sun Goes Down” and continues to show why he is the realest pure emcee in the game, over a chopped vocal sample with snapping snares.  Newcomers Demoz, Des Devious assist former JMT member Jus Allah for “Evil Deeds” and North Carolina’s shining star Supastition does his thing on “The Truth”.   Stoupe shows not every track has to have the symphony dark feel, for “The Truth” he utilizes a sample that would make RZA dig in the crates for.  “That’s Me”, featuring the highly underrated Joell Ortiz, lifts a dope latin horn sample which conjures images of the late great Big Punisher.

Stoupe doesn’t disappoint with his signature sound on “The Torch” featuring the always animated King Magnetic alongside Reef The Lost Cauze.   “Speakeasy” is more of Stoupe’s classic boom bap style as is “Transition of Power” featuring M.O.P. (Side note, It’s great to hear M.O.P. over some dope production, maybe Babygrande can lure them over to the independent side of things). While Block McCloud makes a lackluster appearance on “Independence Day”, unknown Lorrie Doriza adds her soulful touch to “Find a Way”.

Normally we wouldn’t break down track by track, but at only 10 tracks this gives you an adequate picture of what the EP really is.   Stoupe is a great producer, and shows some growth on this outing.  Unfortunately just as you are being drawn in as a listener, the album is over. Perhaps this is just a preview of things to come, but it’s taken nearly 12 years for this producer to give us something that he can call his own.  We were just hoping for more. – DG

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