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Oliver Wang
1 January, 2000 12:00 am

As the underground’s most lauded producer for the new ’00 decade, Jay Dee’s star seems to rise on the daily. I’ve never quite understood what the huge attraction is – he sounds great but he’s not doing anything that Pete Rock, DJ Premier, and Diamond D  didn’t figure out a decade ago. Then again, considering the [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

The only reason I gave Sear the time of day on his Fondle Em single was because the beat, lifted from some old Tribe Records LP, was just so f*ckin’ ill. But Sear, better known as the former comedic companion to Stretch and Bobbito The Barber, isn’t all that intriguing as an MC, sounding like [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

I really liked these guys’ last 12″ (“One, 2″) enough to stick it on my mixtape (and not to sound self-aggrandizing but that must mean I REALLY liked it). This new one only confirms what I thought the first thing – their sh*t is tight. “Live Ordeal!” flips up some raucous guitars and smashing snares for [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

I’m not going to front – I like this two-EP project even if I wasn’t one of the DJs named on the “Just Tryin’ To Make Friends With Your Deejay” (note to Atmosphere - I better be on your next installment). While it’s the type of hyperactive, self-enthused hip-hop that just screams “midwest” and/or “white”, there’s [cont.]

1 January, 1999 12:00 am

If there’s one thing J5 has been good at, it’s been exclusive new tracks for their 12″s. Last time it was “Concrete and Clay”, this time around it’s “Long Road To Glory” which joins two of the best songs on the album already “W.O.E. Is Me” and “Monkey Bars” (instrumenta). A relaxed, mid-tempo track produced [cont.]

1 January, 1999 12:00 am

After a year-plus break, Company Flow (minus Bigg Jus) return to scene with El-P’s trademark aggro-electro steelo. Ill Bill joins El-P on the obtuse, fun crushin’ “Simian D aka Feeling Ignorant” while “Simple” is anything but as Co Flow gives your noggin a hard knock with the lyrics that lets the beat damage it further. No less [cont.]

1 January, 1999 12:00 am

“Ka-Ching” just reminds me how very, very rare artists like De La Soul and Gang Starr are. Like Brand Nubian, their careers have survived the times but this new 12″ finds Sadat X doing some bling, bling, hoes and b*tches bullsh*t while De La and Gangstarr have maintained integrity AND excellence without pandering to the trendy sh*t. No [cont.]

1 January, 1999 12:00 am

At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I just wasn’t feeling Reflection Eternal’s last 12″ (“Express”). The production felt off and even a little uninspired and Kweli doing braggadocio just isn’t as good as him moralizing. Insightful lyrics – even when heavy-handed – usually edge out middle of the road ego flexin’. “Move Somethin’” is neither [cont.]

1 January, 1997 12:00 am

Gang Starr’s Step In the Arena is widely credited as one of the first albums to really pioneer a jazz/hip-hop fusion but people got it slightly wrong.  Sure, DJ Premier sampled jazz songs to make some of the tracks for Arena but his innovation was taking the jazzy and making it funky. In comparison to the [cont.]

1 January, 1997 12:00 am

The lyrics on “Above Da Law” are pretty NY-standard issue (nothing you ain’t heard on every other Guesswhyld release if you knawmean). I was feeling the vibe of it – Tommy Tee’s brass heavy, cinematic track hits with ’nuff force and the various MCs. Agallah, Ruck Of Heltah Skeltah, Labba, and Starang Wondah of O.G.C. sound fairly [cont.]

1 January, 1997 12:00 am

After having seen his fellow Canadians rock it to the top (Choclair, Saukrates, Kardinal Offishall), Marvel finally returns to drop a 12″ for the T-Dot. “Throw This Ball” has a questionable hook – sh*t is just a little corny – but I can’t front on the slow-tempo, lumbering beat by Saukrates. And Marvel comes in with [cont.]

1 January, 1997 12:00 am

Not that talent necessarily has to run in families but the more production I hear from Madlib’s younger brother, Oh No, the more I’m convinced the Jackson clan has some scary genetics running through it. The musical mind behind Kali Wild and Epitome slaps down a nice blend of tracks for the Infamous MC. “Attitudes” is light [cont.]

1 January, 1997 12:00 am

Damn, Master Fuol might have a cool little fall anthem on his hands with “It’s On”. All the right components are there – R&B croonings on the chorus (weak vocalist but you can forgive her since she’s not too prominent), easy hook to remember (“it’s on!”), a slick, post-Pete Rock track by 1Eye and Fuol’s rappin’ about the [cont.]

1 January, 1997 12:00 am

I love Quasi’s sh*t but I don’t always think of his songs as being “singles” in the conventional sense. His sh*t is his mind-bending vocal and aural alchemy – purely for the bugged but I don’t know if I’d be hot to trot to slide this into the mix. Perhaps predicting that kind of reservation, [cont.]

1 January, 1997 12:00 am

Gang Starr’s Step In the Arena is widely credited as one of the first albums to really pioneer a jazz/hip-hop fusion but people got it slightly wrong.  Sure, DJ Premier sampled jazz songs to make some of the tracks for Arena but his innovation was taking the jazzy and making it funky. In comparison to the [cont.]

1 January, 1997 12:00 am

After making a splash on the Lucy Pearl album, as well as Guru’s new Street Soul, Bilal could be the proverbial next big thing in R&B crooners. Certainly, he’s got good production behind him as the ubiquitous Raphael Sahdeeq drips honeyed soul on the slow groovin’ track. Bilal shares a faint resemblance to the falsetto tone [cont.]

1 January, 1997 12:00 am

Phil Da Agony executes “Watch Out” pretty well considering it’s a one-gimmick record. Ever line begins with Phil warning you, “watch out for [fill in the blank].” Sample verses: “first you got to watch out for yourself and your fam/because if you don’t watch out/nobody else will give a damn/watch out for those niggas in the [cont.]

1 January, 1997 12:00 am

The Masta Ace comeback tour continues with one of his better 12″s. While the “Ghetto Like…” concept has already been flipped by everyone from Kardinal Offishall (“U R Ghetto When”) and Jay-Z (“So Ghetto”), Ace does a decent job with some clever lines: “I’m ghetto like them chicks that hate Kobe’s white finance/who want to try to [cont.]

1 January, 1997 12:00 am

Afu Ra’s larger clan, first name-checked by Jeru The Damaja back in the day, finally turn up on record. I don’t have enough details to pinpoint everybody but “Doin’ It” starts with Afu on the verses – nothing new that you haven’t heard from him but it’s pretty good by his own standards. JahDan backs him up [cont.]

1 January, 1997 12:00 am

I dig Lif’s sh*t because this MC’s got personality. Yeah, at times, his rhyme scheme can feel a little awkward and forced but 1) his voice is just so f*cking ill, like he’s a career smoker about two packs away from a larynx operation and 2) even he does force it, you can’t help but admire [cont.]

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