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There really isn’t a bad DJ Premier beat. There might be some that aren’t as strong as others, but you aren’t really going to hear a Preemo track and say that it’s wack. So at the end of the day, when Premier drops a compilation like Year Round Records: Get Used To Us, it’s up to the “us” in the title (meaning the emcees) to hold it down.

And hold it down they do. Naturally, with any of the veterans, it’s an easy win for the Year Round team, such as when a fed-up Blaq Poet takes advantage of the aggro “Bang Dis!” to get some shit off his chest. The same can be said for songs like “Married To The Game” (feat. Tef & Styles P) or “Lifetime Membership” (feat. Tef, Papoose, and Saigon) that bang with similar gravitas. The only thing missing here is a verse from Danz or Fame.

Arguably the highest point of the record is “Ya Dayz R #ed”, a blistering posse cut featuring Royce Da 5’9, Freddie Foxxx, and a still-killing-it Lady of Rage, who compete in game of rap exercise. Foxxx also nails the album’s best solo cut on “Gang Starr Bus”, which finds him on a circa-’92 Premier track that ignites a warm sense of deja vu the first time it’s heard. While Foxxx pays homage to the Gang Starr era, KRS-One and Grand Puba remember a similar time on “5″%”, recalling rap’s relationship with the gods and earths in the 80′s and 90′s.

The new talent also shines. While the focus is clearly put on Nick Javas – who does an admirable job impressing Premier on “Oppurtunity Knoccs” – some of the fan favorites may ultimately end up in Young Maylay and Khaleel, respectively. On “Temptation”, Maylay gets a ridiculous piano loop – like something out of “The Symphony” video – vividly painting a children’s story of some crooks out just to get a rep. Meanwhile, Khaleel’s distinct southern drawl somehow meshes with Preem’s scaled down east coast drums, sounding like a more abrasive version of Devin The Dude. Among so many rappers, the newer cats will have a tougher time to shine, but at the end of the day they may end up being the label’s unsung heroes.

While there’s a lot of emcees on this record, that’s it’s only downfall, sometimes making it hard to keep track of who’s who, and if you blink and eye, you might miss a verse from your favorite rapper. Nevertheless, as always, Premier delivers quality in abundance, setting up his label roster nicely. If Year Round Records can get out 3-5 solid full-lengths from the crew per year, the industry will have no choice but to get used them. Bang this.

In association with TWV.

  Mixtape D.L.
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