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LA’s Styles Of Beyond have been putting it down since the birth of the independent hip-hop movement, which saw the release of their fan favorite albums, 2000 Fold (1998) and Megadef (2003). The SOB’s caught the ear of Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, who invited them to be a part of his Fort Minor offshoot project, delivering one of the best and certainly most slept on major label hip-hop albums of the year, with The Rising Tide, back in 2005. This would lead to Styles Of Beyond being signed to Shinoda’s Machineshop Records imprint, via Warner Bros… only to suffer the same fate of many artists of the indie hip-hop movement, to find their album shelved indefinitely. Recorded in 2007, and finally seeing release this year via the Demigodz’s Dirty Version Records, it’s evident why a major label would want to shelve this record: it’s too good.

Let’s back up for a second on that last statement. It’s not to say that the major label system is incapable of releasing a “real hip-hop” album, but we’ve seen this happen countless times, almost suggesting that they simply throw their collective hands up in defeat, before even attempting to work something without a “hit single”. Reseda Beach has plenty of moments that attempt to light-heartedly pander to the major label system, utilizing familiar breaks (“Dunky Fividends”, “Call My Name”), penning pre-LMFAO songs about getting drunk (“The Pirate Song”), songs about girls (“Sugar Honey Iced Tea” – also known as “S.H.I.T.”), a double-time song (“Take That”, which also features a blistering verse from Celph Titled) and an ironic, middle finger to radio itself, “Dumb It Down”.

Nevertheless, it’s all done with quality and integrity, so even in their attempts to dumb things down, Styles Of Beyond still come off with phat beats and cheeky-yet-crass, well-thought out lyrics, with an incredibly solid LP. If the above mentioned tracks were their attempts at slightly leaning to more commercial appeal, the rest of the LP takes on a more rugged edge, as tracks like the J. Dilla produced “Hard” and the Big Daddy Kane inspired “Second To None” bang with reckless abandon.

In it’s 48 minute play-time, there really isn’t a bad cut on Reseda Beach, and given the fact that this as-of-yet-unheard LP is now five years old, and still sounds brand new, it is a testament that this is timeless music. So while the long list of Shawty Lo’s, OJ Da Juiceman’s and other one-hit wonders continues to expand, leaving behind a legacy of nothing, Styles Of Beyond have left us with something that will live on for many years in the hearts and minds of rap fans: classically driven hip-hop that knows not age or expiration date. Perhaps one day the major labels will get it.

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4 Responses to "Styles Of Beyond – “Reseda Beach” – @@@@ (Review)"
  • zoom says:

    Spot on review. Pizzo, you’re having a fergie moment, its Reseda Beach bro.

  • DJ Pizzo says:

    I was repping for the boot camp clik

  • Dayz says:

    I have been a huge fan of Styles of Beyond since 2000 Fold dropped. Megadef came out and blew my mind all over again and the Razor Tag mixtape got spins for years. I can honestly say I this group is my favorite group of all time in Hip Hop, bold statement indeed. Their style is just perfect to me, ridiculously choice production with crazy metaphors, braggadocio, old school, partyin’/ragin’ and general in your face kick ass lyrics. I have been jonesin’ for this LP since when it was first announced it was coming out as Rocket Surgery. I never thought it would come out after all the delays and them getting dropped from the label. After talking with Ryu on his Ustream sessions where he played a few songs he told me it was never coming out to official put the nail in the coffin. I was so disappointed but accepted it as another tragic loss like the Rakim Aftermath LP. But then Celph Titled comes through with the announcement it is truly finally coming out after all after all these years! I couldn’t believe it but I can truly say this LP was everything I thought it could be and more. It is flawless (imo) and in the same lane as their other two. Every line is ridiculously crafty and witty. The production is bar none. Including the Razor Tag mixtape without Green Lantern’s mixing was such an unexpected treat. All I can say is WOW!!! S.O.B.!!! I know they are no longer a group but I am really looking forward to hearing more from Ryu on the Demigodz Killmatic LP and hopefully a solo LP at some point. Takbir went rouge with his crazy electronic dance music under the flipped name of Ribkat, I am not feeling his solo stuff at all. anyways BUY THIS LP NOW IF YOU HAVEN”T ALREADY! Hip Hop at it’s finest!

  • Meogi says:

    I cannot stop playing this album. It is the real deal.

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