26 February, 2010@8:55 am
It seems like it has been more then two years since we have had a full length Planet Asia album, but it hasn’t. This critic never got into the flow of the Planet Asia and DJ Muggs’ Pain Language and it always seemed as if they were just trying to recreate something they did before. So while the prospect of another Planet Asia album was exciting, knowing it was a crew compilation album left some hesitation.
This collaboration project for Planet Asia and his Gold Chain Military crew, Chain of Command, features two other lyricists from Fresno, two from Los Angeles and two more representing Brooklyn. The album features a cast of more well known producers like The Alchemist, Large Professor, and Evidence and DJ Babu of Dilated Peoples.
The album starts off with a grimy feel of early 90’s production with a mix of lyricists giving there best to create the feel of a “we-against-the-world, going-to-war” mentality. The lyrics seem fresh and the General, as they call him throughout the album, Planet Asia is often one of the first to spit. Over the first couple tracks the production sounds like a raw version of a early Mobb Deep album, with that New York type of grittiness that makes the listener really want to move their head. The members of GCM each spit some creative verses that will have the listener following along, flirting with moments of greatness.
While the flow of the album starts off in a good direction, the album starts to lean heavily on it’s production, as the lyricists start to mellow and not continue the heat they brought throughout the first five to six tracks. After a while listening to the lyrics, you are awaiting punch lines that just didn’t seem to come. At couple points throughout the album, the emcees were spitting over one another in the transitions making it impossible to understand what either one was saying. The lyrics started to get a bit forced and by the end of each track, and nothing special seemed to be standing out. By the end of the album, one can only hang around merely to hear Planet Asia spit.
While parts of the album are enjoyable, lyrically it seemed to get stale, and it was clear the production was what to listen for. All in all, Chain of Command is somewhat of a disappointment, with crushed hopes of hearing some fresh new talent that would make the underground buzz, rather then blending into background. Next time around, hopefully Asia will enlist the same brand of top notch production, but on his solo album.
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