27 October, 2011@6:47 pm
Statik Selektah has had an incredible year, not only putting in work up at Shade45, but really standing out as one of the best producers the scene has to offer. Over the course of the last year, we’ve seen him release incredible collaborative albums with everyone from Freddie Gibbs to Freddie Foxxx, showing amazing consistency with each release, and before the year is up, we’ll see new full-lengths with Action Bronson and Termanology. All of his various collaborations come to a head on his latest LP, Population Control, released in conjunction with Duck Down, and his own Showoff Records imprint.
Population Control is essentially a compilation record, as Statik selects some of his favorite emcees to rhyme over his beats. As a DJ, Statik understands the idea of getting the crowd’s – or in this case, the listener’s – attention right from the jump. That being said, he packs the first half of this album with all of it’s strongest cuts. It opens on a tear with the excellent title track, featuring Sean Price and Termanology, immediately reeling you in. This continues into the Big K.R.I.T. / Freddie Gibbs collabo “Play The Game”, which finds the two meshing like a millennial Outkast, while “New York, New York” (feat. Styles P, Saigon, & Jared Evan)” captures the heart of the city perfectly. “Sam Jack” is another standout, as each XV, Jon Connor, and The Kid Daytona build verses around their favorite Samuel L. Jackson quotes, while the bluesy “Never A Dull Moment” is classic Statik, with Grade-A verses from Action Bronson, Termanology, and Bun B.
Had the album closed out with a few of it’s stronger tracks right after this, Population Control might have rated better, but unfortunately it’s second half of “greener” emcees drags things down a bit. New school gangsters Push! Montana and LEP Bogus Boys do little to sell us on their brand of dope on “Down”, while the Strong Arm Steady / Dom Kennedy collabo “Smoke On” plays on tired west-coast formulas. It’s at this point where many of the tracks begin to run together, with a few that stand out only on a merit of being below-average next to every thing else on the record. We won’t name names.
Thankfully, things come back together for a strong finish, as rising star STS begins to steer things back on track with “Gold In 3D”, while Joell Ortiz and Brother Ali absolutely knock it past the fence on the heavy, heartfelt “Damn Right”. The album ends on a somber note with “A DJ Saved My Life” (not a cover), which reminds us of how many great, legendary DJ’s we’ve lost over the last decade.
Statik Selektah has produced some of the greatest indie hip-hop albums of the last few years with projects like 1982 (w/ Termanology) and The Konexion (w/ Freddie Foxxx), among others. Which leads us to believe that he is at his best when working with one main emcee collaborator. Population Control shows his dexterity and range as a producer, however at just under 20 tracks, some of it’s lesser stellar moments could have been left on the studio floor.
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