Statik Selektah has rapidly risen through the ranks as one of the most solid and consistent producers in the game. Over the past few years alone, he managed to release collaborative albums with each Action Bronson, Freddie Gibbs, Bumpy Knuckles, Freeway, Termanology, and others, all while continuing to release annual solo LP’s. While we’ve seen artists release music at the fast Lil B / No Limit pace in the past, Statik Selektah is one of the few to continually keep minds blown with a seemingly endless array of dope beats at his disposal. His latest project, Extended Play, is no different.
A foreword, we don’t like long albums, and agree with the ?uestlove philosophy that classic records clock in at no more than 10 tracks (i.e. Illmatic, Thriller, etc). Extended Play is a 17-track LP, but Statik Selektah is a DJ first, and knows that getting the crowd on his side is the first step to winning them over. That said, he bombards the first ten tracks of the album with bangers. While the last act of the LP doesn’t hold quite as tight as the first, it goes unnoticed, as he’s already got you in the palm of his hand.
As the album opens, Pain In Da Ass pays homage to the classic Roc-A-Fella era by channelling Ray Liotta’s “Fuck you, pay me” speech from Goodfellas and a bit of Al Pacino from Carlito’s Way. While he’s ridden this schtick to death, all is forgiven once “Reloaded” starts, a celebratory posse cut from Action Bronson, Big Body Bes, Termanology, and Tony Touch. The gospel-tinged “Bird’s Eye View” follows, as legends Raekwon and Black Thought endorse newcomer Joey Bada$$, who later appears on the bluesy “The Spark” with Action Bronson and Mike Posner, and “Live From The Era” with the rest of his Pro Era crew.
“East Coast” with N.O.R.E. and Lil Fame is another stand-out, as the two recount the classic east coast / west coast feud, with neither emcee holding their tongue, while Sean Price and Mac Miller trade barbs over the brooding “21 & Over”. “Make Believe” finds Freddie Gibbs rhyming over classic 90′s Pete Rock-esque production, while Prodigy of Mobb Deep channels his Albert Einstein alter ego on “Pinky Ring” over an off-kilter loop. “Funeral Season” is a gorgeous collab between Styles P, Bun B and Hit Boy, while Smif-N-Wessun point young upstarts, Flatbush Zombies, in the right direction on “Camoflage Dons”. With so many classic emcees appearing on this album, Statik proves that hip-hop isn’t dead, it just needs better production – and he’s got it.
But some of the newer crew will have a hard time living up to the performances over the more seasoned peers, as the album spoils the listener with familiarity during it’s first half. Cuts like “Gz, Pimps, Hustlers” (feat. Wais P and Slaine), “Love & War” (feat. Ea$y Money & Freeway), and “100 Stacks” (feat. JFK and Strong Arm Steady) aren’t bad by any means, but you’re so spoiled by rap legends in the first half that some of these tracks get lost in the fold. Nevertheless, the penchant for quality is so full throughout Extended Play, the listener just goes with the flow.
Statik Selektah has produced 20+ LP/EP projects over the last five years, and by any other artist’s standard, by now we’d begin to see a decline in quality. Not with Statik. He’s proved that he appreciates both quality and quantity, and continues to impress us even at this point; and he’s just getting started.
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