JS-1 has transformed himself into more than just another New York DJ. From scratching with Regis on Regis and Kelly to making the DJ essential “Scratch Roulette” series, JS-1 is more of a brand than just a guy who spins records. It’s been 7 years since he dropped the seminal Ground Original, which featured a who’s who of the then underground kings. Now JS has taken full control of the boards and the turntables for the second installment. With the underground riddled with mediocrity how does No Sell Out stand up in comparison with its predecessor?
From the intro with Rahzel, you get the feeling that the album is something special. Instead of enlisting the up and comers of the game, JS decides to call in every favor he has ever garnered throughout his career and pull out all the stops for Ground Original 2, starting with the legendary Large Professor and PMD for “Like This”. Both of these generals hip-hop haven’t missed a beat and makes you wonder why we don’t hear more from them. The assault continues with “Clear and Present Danger” which lifts the same sample Black Moon and Jay-Z used respectfully. KRS-One and Canibus trade verses back and forth like it was ’97 all over again. “Nuthin” featuring CL Smooth, Brother Ali, and Sadat X sounds like a Pete Rock throwback track with each emcee holding his own the flipped vocal sample,while Common introduces “Ridiculous”, which is just that. OC and Pharoahe Monch have the same chemistry they did on “Let’s Organize” 15 years ago.
Underground favorite Copywrite trades barbs with New York up and comer Nutrageous and Jak D on “Sum Rap Shit”. Copy further shows that he can rip a track whenever and wherever you wants to. “Runnin This” which may be the best track on the album has the ever impressive Termanology going back and forth with Punchline and Rugged Intellect. Other stand outs include “Bang Da Underground”, “Original G’z”, “Too Easy” and the reunion of Ultramagnetic on “Brainbender”.
Though the album has a lot of talent, that talent tends to overshadow the fact that it’s a DJ/Producer’s album. As the album progresses it reads more as a compilation of the best and brightest hip-hop has to offer in 2009, instead of one man’s vision. Clocking in at 76 minutes you definitely get your money’s worth but in today’s A.D.D. society it’s a little bit too long to stay engaged.
JS one deserves our respect; he has found a way to cross over into the mainstream eye without giving up his hip-hop roots. Ground Original 2 further places JS-1 as not only one of the most talent DJs/producers in the game, but gives the youth a blueprint of how to make it on your own terms. - DG
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