1 July, 2011@5:54 pm
Four years since their last release, Smif-n-Wessun return with a suitably titled fourteen-song offering of Bucktown brilliance. Boasting exclusive production and expert turntablism from the Chocolate Boy Wonder, Monumental makes its moniker proud every step of the way. The unlikely trio prepared an audible meal that should have the hungry going back for second and third helpings.
This album starts off strong with title track, “Monumental”; Pete Rock refreshing our memories that the gems he drops are verbal as well. Tek and Steele deliver as expected; hardcore, though contemplative raps on street savvy subjects. There’s no denying the skills are still sharp as they maintain the unfaltering pace Pete Rock sets on the soundtrack.
Steady intensity considered; there are plenty of peaks in the voyage. “Top of the World” featuring Memphis Bleek is one of these, with a victorious energy that’s infectious. Shortly past mid-album lives a downright danceable “Do It” featuring the obscure Hurricane G, who comes off to sounds reminiscent of the break beat years.
Veterans in hip-hop, the triad could have easily carried this project on their own shoulders. But there are only three tracks; “Fire”, “Go Off”, and “Time To Say”, without features. Still, they invited heavyweights like Bun B, Raekwon, Freeway and Black Rob to the assist roster, who each contribute something unique and harmonious.
Also memorable is “That’s Hard” appropriately featuring fellow Duck Down kin Sean Price and Yonkers’ own Styles-P. “Night Time” featuring Buckshot; on which Pete Rock once again blesses the microphone, is perfect for cruising the streets after dark. Tracks like “This One” and “Feel Me” with Top Dog and Rock of Heltah Skeltah respectively, may just prompt you to pull out your old Boot Camp Clik albums and keep the vibe going.
Monumental doesn’t play like a Smif n Wessun album with Pete Rock beats, or a Pete Rock album with Smif n Wessun kicking rhymes. The Soul Brother Number One pulled from various genres to stage an exhilarating ride from Mount Vernon to Brooklyn. Each brings an upgraded, branded contribution to the table to form a new entity; still rugged, but older, wiser and crisper.
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