Artist: DJ Andrew Unknown & DJ Mekalek
Album: Ain’t No Love: The Lost Freestyle Sessions Part 2
Label: On The Strength Entertainment
Rating: 9 / 10
Reviewer: DJ MF
If there’s anything to be gained from the meteoric rise to stardom by the G-g-g-g-g-g-g-g Unit and 50 Cent, it’s that they’ve reaffirmed the state of the mixtape in hip hop. For far too long, the medium was hijacked by the likes of DJ’s such as Clue, who although were able to assemble lots of exclusives and ‘freestyles’, always seemed to place themselves ABOVE the music they were bringing to the masses.
Thankfully, “Ain’t No Love” presented by DJ’s Andrew Unknown and Mekalek is the polar opposite to the DJ Clue’s of the world. Simply put, “Ain’t No Love” is among the best mixtapes I’ve EVER heard, with top to bottom goodness, and absolutely ZERO filler.
How was this achieved? As in most nice ideas, they kept it simple. The basic plan of the mixtape was a whole bunch of classic hip hop instrumentals from the early to mid nineties, paired with the cream of the crop in underground/on the cusp MC’s, and some impressive cutting and blending. Cream of the crop MC’s? Here in abundance, ranging from Wordsworth, to Smif-N-Wessun and Buckshot, Akrobatik, the Demigodz, Sean Price, Rock, Esoteric, Louis Logic, and Masta Ace among others.
And oh yeah, no bullshit self promotion. The music speaks for itself.
Rolling 22 tracks deep (21 minus the intro, which is actually ill enough to be seen as a track), what I said earlier remains true. You won’t find a weak performance on the entire LP. Which oddly enough, makes for a difficult review. How does one single out the ultra outstanding performers in a crowded room of A+ students?
If I had to pick a few tracks to look out for on the compilation, Rock’s (of Heltah Skeltah fame) killer verse over the instrumental of ‘Still Shinin’ would rank up there. He’s been rarely heard since he was dropped from DJ Lethal’s imprint, and his earlier Heltah Skeltah work, but if the track is any indication, the skills haven’t declined.
Another of the standouts is the Old Maid Billionaires collabo over the ‘My Minds Plain Tricks On Me’ instrumental, where Zone in particular outshines his protÃ©gÃ©s with some vintage storytelling and self-depreciating rhymes.
The Demigodz also represent beautifully, with their battle rhymes over the ‘Rare Species’ Mobb Deep instrumental interspersed with some expert ‘Breaker Breaker’ GZA lines cut in by the DJ’s. In a way, it represents exactly what the LP is about – the MC’s getting the shine, beats you’ve loved for a long time, and the DJ enhancing the product.
Simply put, I can’t recommend this album enough. To my ears, there is no better collection of ‘freestyles’ out there, on original beats or otherwise. How rare is it that I think a mixtape is perfect? Pretty damn so. Take that with a grain of salt if you want.
Hit up your local music/record shop and BUY this. Period.