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Freddie Foxxx aka Bumpy Knuckles doesn’t release albums very often, but when he does, he picks up the mic like he never left. And chances are, he never did leave, as “rhyming is a part of [his] life”, as he let us know on 2000′s seminal Industry Shakedown. Easily one of the best indie albums that year, and of the entire independent hip-hop movement as a whole, it took no prisoners and got people to listen and respect the then already seasoned emcee. After quite a long dry spell, Bumpy recently teamed with KRS-One for the Royalty Check release, and now joins up with soon-to-be-super producer Statik Selektah for Lyrical Workout.

In a word, Statik has mastered the classic hip-hop production style, evoking feelings of the 90′s, and more specifically the Gang Starr Foundation itself, with Lyrical Workout. Combining that with a seasoned emcee that knows exactly what to do with these beats, we get one of the strongest album releases of the year. Taking it back to jazz loops (!), songs like the opener, “Still Got It” (featuring a well-timed Dr. Dre sample) beg the question why rappers abandoned this style so many years ago. The same can be said for songs like the scratch-driven “Animalistic”, or the cinematic soul of tracks like “Beats On ‘Em” or “Pen Game”. The entire album magically transports longtime listeners back to a better time, without sounding dated.

It goes without saying that Bumpy’s lyrical contributions certainly match Statik’s production, as there really isn’t a show-stealer on this collaboration. Bumpy’s a rare breed in today’s age of pandering to the mainstream, a brutally honest emcee that has extra large fists to back up his boasts. We even get a bit of vulnerability this time around, as on “Don’t Do Fake”, Bumpy laments “I can’t remember all my rhymes sometimes / I guess I’m getting old, I do forget / plus I wrote a whole bunch of shit”. It’s this type of honesty in an industry that is built off of manufactured celebrities that makes Bump’s words all the more sincere; and Statik’s buttery beat doesn’t hurt either.

There’s no deeper meaning, no concept, no hit single (or failed attempt), Lyrical Workout is just simply a “real” album, for lack of a better term. Bumpy Knuckles and Statik Selektah have created something exceptional here, that definitely should not be missed.

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15 Responses to "Bumpy Knuckles + Statik Selektah – "Lyrical Workout" – @@@@1/2"
  • RichB says:

    i like this it isnt the best bumpy album but dont think it is as bad as everybody whose posted negative comments about it above. As for him rapping about the same shit on every track you should know by now what his style is what r u expecting

  • sTeeZo says:

    @ RichB

    I can’t speak for anybody else who didn’t like the Lyrical Workout LP but, as for me, It has nothing to do with Bumpy’s style.

    Stylistically, Bumpy Knuckles has been a bad muthafucka to me since I first heard him on the joint “Hot Potato” off of the 19 Naughty III LP, back when he was known as Freddie Foxxx. (even though, dude sounds like he’s running out of steam on this new album)

    The issue I have, is with his subject matter. After hearing Bumpy’s music for around 18 years, he’s beginning to sound like a broken record to me. The man is an incredible talent but, there’s only so many ways you can talk about the same old shit.

    I would just love to see dude evolve more as an artist.

  • Blast Raydius says:

    Agree with the rating, but not the review as a whole. this album is more about the beats. bumpy is consistent as a rapper, but what sets this apart from a lot of other underground shit out there is statik. I do agree with the Gang Starr comparison. if you “Hard To Earn” wasn’t in daily rotation for you in 1994, I wouldn’t expect you to get it.

  • RichB says:

    i here what ur saying steezo but i dont know exactly what u want him to evolve into it doesnt seem like a possibility as far as he concerned

  • sTeeZo says:

    @RichB

    I wouldn’t presume to tell someone how to live their life but, In his career, I’m sure Bumpy has seen a lot and done a lot.

    I know there has to be more to him but, a lot of emcees like Bumpy get stuck in the role of “reppin hard for tha streets” or any of the other stupid ass slogans you hear when cats talk about who’s more real.

    And anything that doesn’t promote that image is seen as a negative.

    Like the shit folks talk about rappers in skinny jeans. I could give a rat’s fuck about what the artist is wearing. What I care about, is the quality of their music.

    That being said, Bumpy has every right to talk about anything he wants to in his music, and I’m sure the fans that buy his CD’s love him just the way he is. It’s just that, Bumpy has been grindin’ in the rap game for a while. He’s a veteran of that shit.

    And with all the places he’s traveled to, all the people he’s met, and all the things he’s experienced just as a human being, you’d think dude would have more to talk about.

    And if “it doesn’t seem like a possibility as far as he’s concerned” It’s too bad because, after so many years of hearing it, his shtick is getting pretty stale to me.

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