The legendary D.I.T.C. crew has had it’s ups and downs over the years, delivering numerous classic albums and singles, but also plenty of missteps. For every Runaway Slave there’s The Dirty Version, for every Word…Life there’s Smoke & Mirrors. Usually the problems with D.I.T.C.’s later releases came from them trying to adapt to the commercial sounds of whatever was hot at the time, resulting in some embarrassing blemishes on their respective resumes. Fat Joe is the only member of the crew that has been able to make the crossover relatively unscathed, but even there he has lost the respect of his longtime followers.
In the aftermath of the music industry’s ultimate failure, many aging artists have abandoned the idea of trying to be the next B.I.G., and instead have gone back to making the music that they love. With this comes Oasis, the first ever collaborative album between O.C. and A.G. What sounds like a dream on paper results in a so-so album that could have been light years better.
The album starts off on the right foot, with Statik Selektah’s buttery title track, where the two emcees pay homage to one another by building on one another’s lyrics. This leads into a pair of Lord Finesse produced cuts with “Give It Back” and “Alpha Males”, respectively, as the reanimates vintage soul samples into the perfect backdrops for them to build upon. While these tracks show that the duo hasn’t lost it, this is not the case for much of the rest of the album.
Producer E-Blaze handles the majority of the rest of the album’s beats – and like his name – the production sounds dated. The keyboard synth thump of songs like “Think About It”, “Put It In The Box” and “Keep It Going”, not to mention the horrendous club-attempt “Against the Wall”, plague much of the album, as Blaze produces 9 of the album’s 17 tracks. While many of the aforementioned tracks sound like beats Ruff Ryders may have passed on, the production fails to inspire the duo to deliver anything mind-blowing, as they seem to be both be plodding along at 94 beats per minute, looking at their watches as to when the hour might be up.
Unfortunately, the usually reliable Show does not deliver his best material here either. The murky “Young With Style” treads through the marsh with uninspiring guitar licks that sound as if they were taken from a McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” ad, while “Boom Bap” sounds like a eulogy, not a tribute to a great, but unfortunately now deceased style. Just last year we saw excellent results with banging, atmospheric tracks from Show and A.G. on the Live Hard album. It’s a mystery what happened here.
There’s a common misconception that if an album is not about bling and flash, and it’s by an artist with classics under his belt, then it too must be a classic. This is incorrect. As badly as we’d like to hold on to the idea the D.I.T.C. crew can do no wrong, unfortunately the opposite is true. However, those who have followed them since Funky Technician (that would include this writer) have seen the high and low points for D.I.T.C. and cannot be fooled. While the words may seem harsh, instead they are passionate. For the longtime fans that continue to support and follow their music, we deserve better. – D.T. Swinga
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