Artist: Da Beatminerz
Album: Brace 4 Impak
Rating: 8 / 10
Reviewer: DJ MF
Ah, Da Beatminerz. If you know MF, you know how much I love these cats.
A production team comprised of DJ Evil Dee, Mr. Walt, Baby Paul, Rich Blak and Chocolate Ty, the Minerz have been in the game for more than a hot minute now, and each and every time they’ve blessed a track with their production skills, it’s been dope. For real. Look it up. I don’t think they’ve EVER made a bad beat. From the entire Bootcamp Clik to the likes of Eminem, the Minerz have produced for the cream of the hip hop crop, and have continued to do so with “Brace 4 Impak.”
So anyways, they finally signed the aforementioned deal with Rawkus Records. The end result is this, their first official LP. BUT, problems were encountered. See, there has been some pretty bigtime label beef recently. As a consequence of this, Loud Records decreed that no Loud artist would be on the compilation, thus robbing the album of a number of tracks, most notably a track with Xzibit that I can’t remember the name of.
So, with the label problems included, will it be the usual watered down commercial ish that stuff like this usually promotes? Or will it stay true to the classic Beatminerz sound? As usual, relax, have a beverage, and read on.
1) Intro /Live & Direct/ Brace 4 Impak feat. Lord Tariq & Royce Da 5’9
An intro mixed with the first track of the LP, starting things off without a pause, thankfully. The beat sounds like a sample of DJ Premier’s ‘Nas Is Like’ beat, but with added bass tones, making it thump even more. Added to that are some screeching intermittent horns, and a vocal sample of someone saying “one”. A nice beat, but nothing TOO crazy. A decent enough opener I guess. The treat though are Tariq and Royce. Royce spits it with his usual verve, and Tariq impresses me with his lack of horribleness, which I didn’t know he could do.
“This is what you get when Beatminerz meet the Wordsmiths
Everytime I go out, I cop somethin new
Everytime I throw this right hand, I knock somethin loose
Who the fuck think they can see me, might as well call the wife
And tell your not comin home and to take it easy
My guns don’t snoop, they woof, at them sissy-ass niggas
Type that acidentally shoot they foot Desert Eagle too big for you bitch ass niggas
Soft ass punks, can’t take the cake back niggas
And you wonder why they suckin my dick
Or why I keep a suitcase with thirty grand handcuffed to my wrist
Or why the rocks could possibly make you lose your sight blinkin, on the wrist”
2) Devastatin’… That’s Us! feat. Black Moon & Lord Have Mercy
With Black Moon member Evil Dee a member of Black Moon, you KNEW they’d be featured on the LP, and here’s the track. Featuring former Flipmode Squad member Lord Have Mercy, the beat here is bananas to the extreme. A dope bassline mixed with some nice electric effects, and yup, that’s it, in the traditional Beatminerz minimalist tone. Buck brings it fiercely on the lyric tip, reminding me of his earlier days, and Lord Have has got such a deep voice that it contrasts perfectly with Buck on the chorus. In addition, the lyrics are a bit more interesting, as Buck references his “falling off” that some have perceived.
“The Gods love Buckshot regardless – I burn the hardest I used to be formerly know as the artist
Know it’s back to Buck, I smack niggas what don’t start it
Cuz I play the block like corn stores
Hardcore where my niggas hold rocks in they jaw”
3) Hell Yeah, Oh Yeah feat. Billy Flames
Shadez of Brooklyn represents next, as Rich Black and Chocolate Ty show love to their former affiliates. Another gorgeous beat here (surprise surprise), as a great guitar lick is laced over a slower paced bass vibe. Billy Flames contrasts the laid back beat nicely by laying down his tracks ferociously, although he bores me a tad. Not a bad track overall though, moreso for the beat.
4) Hustler’s Theme feat. The Last Emperor
Wow. What a combo. Underground king The Last Emperor teams up with the Minerz for the next cut, and I’m drooling in anticipation. True to form, Emperor drops a story rhyme about the streets, and the Minerz lace him with a dramatic bassline interspersed with some nice organ effects. A very simple backdrop which lets Emperor be heard. The chorus is lacking, but I can forgive it.
“Yo I remember when the summer was hot, I’m huggin my block
The soldier, tryin to get over with this hustle I got
Lookin out for the cops, on my way to the top
Ain’t no reason to even question if I’m rugged or not
I saw the neighborhood stars drivin our favorite cars
See they out gettin theirs, so now we tryin to get ours
Through a neighborhood tours, goin through neighborhood wars
Gettin bigger doors, mixin this neighborhood sport
We had a powerful team, doin powerful things
The American dream, I’m about gettin cream
It ain’t just for me, it’s for my whole family
This is for all of y’all, I call it the Hustler’s Theme, knah’mean?”
5) Bentleys & Bitches feat. Jayo Felony & Ras Kass
What a weird combo. The inherent cr*ptitude that Jayo Felony brings, and the dopeness that is Ras when it comes to lyrics. The beat, as usual is hype, this time utilizing an electro piano loop, over a frantic sounding bassline. Jay sucks as you’d expect. Ras drops a DOPE verse. The chorus is booty. You’ll listen to this for the beat and for Ras, but not for anything else. Oh yeah, in case you didn’t get the hint from the title, it’s all about cash, girls, and getting it.
“When I die bury me buttnaked and face down in the grass
So I can fuck the world while y’all kiss my ass
Like that faggot – crawlin’ out this bitch like a 6 foot maggot
For the lust of livin lavish I rhyme in a cocoon so nobody can find me
And that rapper whose dick you ridin’, ten years behind me
Motivation switched from freestyle to buy me
Nigga gotta twist this paper like oragami”
6) Best At That feat. Diamond
A more old school feel enters the scene as Diamond reps on the next track, but to be honest, I don’t feel it too much. The beat is there, but really doesn’t do too much, and while Diamond is alright, he doesn’t have enough presence to make up for a dullish beat. Skip this one.
7) Extreme Situation feat. Cocoa Brovaz & Blackhearted Skavangers
Woah. Let me repeat that. Woah. This is some super hot ish right here. The Cocoa B’s continue to flavour their tracks with a reggae vibe, and not only has it been working, but I find it hard to believe that they’ll do it better than they did here. First off, the beat. It’s simply incredible, but hard to describe. The bass is just omnipresent in this. There’s the normal bassline, but it sounds like there’s tons more just rumbling underneath. The Minerz then throw in assorted horns, whistles and electric effects to add some change of pace. Incredibly though, as dope as the beat is, the lyrics are even better. For whatever reason, I’m a sucker for the reggae/rap mix, and Jahdan mixes with the B’s perfectly here, as they tag-team the beat. Just perfect. Play this and watch a room just start dancing.
8) Open feat. Caron Wheeler & Pete Rock
From the reggae vibe of the preceding track, to the R&B of ‘Open’, as the Minerz show off their versatility. Surprisingly, even though I hate most contemporary R&B, I’m feeling this quite a bit. The beat is very catchy, and dominated as usual by the bassline, which is wonderfully accentuated by a nice electric chime thing. Caron Wheeler has some nice pipes, and she actually takes up the bulk of the song, with Pete Rock doing the “featured” thing, and coming correctly, although a bit comatose I suppose. Very nice overall though.
9) Take That feat. Flipmode Squad & Vinia Mojica
Sweet lord. The first single from the LP, and the dopest beat on the LP, which is saying quite a bit with the quality found on here. Again, the omnipresent bassline is used, with a great basic line supported by a staccato undertone. The Squad doesn’t let down in the least, as this beat sounds tailor made for their frenetic style of rapping, and the chorus is custom made for the clubs. Just amazing, with the best lines going to Rah Digga.
“Yea, with my rhymes hittin’ I specialize, grimy spittin’ more grimy
Than the Lucy with some chinese chicken
Now your writin’ under pressure ’til your fingers start to blister
Lookin’ like some sh*t on the neck from rusty flippers
In my BM, fillin’ the tank with my per diem, call ’em as I see ’em
Underground swingin’ to the Masters
Tigers Woods liked the goods, tryed to turn a new leaf Just can’t fight the hood”
10) Drama feat. Shadez of Brooklyn
The Shades return with a MUCH stronger effort, which may also be due to the much hyper beat accompanying them. It sounds like it belongs in a crime movie, and when mixed with the various street sound effects, it just further adds to the feel. The rhythm principally composed of a great guitar loop, which is overlaid on a stutter step bassline. Lyrics, as the title would suggest, deal with drama on the streat. And might I point out, the chorus is booty once again.
11) The Anti-Love Movement feat. Talib Kweli & Total
A pretty funny track here, although not intentionally. The background is a funky as hell bassline over some nice drums, and the soothing voices of Total. The funniness comes from hearing Kweli’s lyrics, which deal with a seduction with a woman. The lyrics aren’t bad mind you, but it’s KWELI, and he sucks, and he’s doing a bad LL Cool J impression here. Good song though, if a bit misplaced in the general scheme of the album, tracklisting wise.
“Yea, the way I spit it, them other cats can forget it
You talkin numbers other cats is talkin’ digits
Tryna hit it and beat it, smack it and blow your back out
So abusive, I could wrestle and blessed that it turned the cat out
Crazy for Haiti, we in the zone gettin playfully erotic
Whatever you give to me, I’ll give it back graciously exotic
Sweet incense, meet the scent of chronic in the air
Mixed in with the sex funk in the atmosphere”
12) How We Ride feat. Heather B and Freddy Foxxx
A great beat supplied here, with a very simple bassline and drum pattern mixed with a banging chorus section, which utilizes a hype horn sample that I can’t quite put my finger on. Heather B is alright, but of course the treat here is the amped stylings of Freddy, who is actually a little toned down here, although the message is still pretty violent.
“My walk thru life is iller than most niggas that carry toast
I’m ya emcee, lyrical host Stretch a nigga if he stand too close
My niggas know who the boss is
The 240 pound bald-headed killer – that don’t know what a loss is
We like black Yukons and Navigators
Real street aggrivators, and we’ll kill you in a suit and gators
Don’t get it fucked up – niggas’ll run you like plays
And cut you like ‘Back in the Days’
I got real street niggas that ride, right or wrong
They always on my side, so bring it on
Take ya picture, then we come and get’cha – ya little bitcha
We bust ya with them four pound shells, that split’cha when they hit’cha”
13) Shut Da Fuck Up feat. Apani B. Fly Emcee & Jean Grae
Y’all can have your Lil’ Kims and Foxy Browns. The REAL female MC’s out there today are these two. Backed by a killer beat here that sounds all spacy and dreamy, Apani and Jean destroy the mic with some killer battle lyrics, that don’t reference Gucci or Prada, yet still manage to sound dope. One of the better tracks on the LP.
“Who stay spittin flows that get underground booties and cats pissed,
Jean – black listed from shows, the rap antagonist I work with ladies with brains twisted and talkin loud and shit
I’ll liquor it, fire spittin women will knuckle you bitch
You troublin whips, niggas rent, can’t afford a six Crash and when the cops come, you’ll find me hurlin the fifth
We got no dough, frozen wrists, or Cris’,
Guns’ll bust when wind blows
My fist could knock holes though niggas
Wittier shit, gritty as hell, pretty as fuck
Dirty as motherfuckers who actually fuck they mother’s what”
14) Thug Love feat. Naughty By Nature
Going back to the mid nineties with this cut, which is on the pure party vibe you’d expect a Naughty By Nature cut to be. A great sing-a-long chorus promoting love and peace, and a jumpy beat that would make this a great club jam. Treach has regressed as an MC, and he doesn’t show very much here, but the track isn’t less for it due to the beat overwhelming everything else.
15) Let’s Talk About It (TROY Remix) feat. Krumbsnatcha
Oh boy, they’d better not screw this up. After a couple of shoutouts at the beginning, the track begins, and it’s on a much more mellow vibe than the original done by Pete Rock and CL Smooth, with some nice cuts thrown in. The base of the beat is an operatic string section over some simple drums. Krumbsnatcha does a GREAT job here, with nice mic presence, and some deep lyrics. Great stuff here, and a worthy successor to the original classic.
“For every bulletshell that fly, or raindrop drip from the sky
Tears from the universal eye
Gunshots and needles, the problem of my people
How fate can meet you, behind the next desert eagle
We celebrate life like it’s close to our death
Teachin all the seeds, with every strength in my breath Pour my thoughts out and let it spill on the paper
Wrenchin my heart for every word, I stress in major
Like a drug dealer paranoid on point
Sendin kites to my dawgs locked in the joint
Does this world know me, cause right now I’m lonely
Pourin’ liquor for my homies, somebody show me Big L, Stretch, and Tah, all gifted Trouble, Big Buff, plus my man Scientific
Long live the martyrs of this game, embracin your names
May you be sheltered from the flames, God bless!”
16) Ghetto 2 Ghetto feat. Tefelar & Cordell
Maybe I’m that out of it, but I have no idea who these guys are. They do get laced with a nice beat though, which incorporates a nice low buzzing horn sample, and an upbeat bassline and drum section. Very old schoolish sounding. The MC’s do a decent enough job, but are pretty unassuming in terms of presence and voices though. A little bit of a disappointment for the final cut of the album I think.
Whew. What an album says I. A perfect taste test for anyone who has no idea who Da Beatminerz are, and more goodness for those that do. It’s refreshing to hear production that has maintained what made it dope in the first place, while building upon that very same sound. There’s a few boring cuts on this LP, but those are negated by the absolute amazingness of some of the others.