Artist: DJ Clue
Album: The Professional
Label: Def Jam
Rating: 9 / 10
Reviewer: DJ MF
Having acquired a wide range of artists and styles for this LP, Clue has an album here that can be appreciated by almost anyone who like east coast hip hop. As usual, he yells like an idiot throughout, but it isn’t enough to turn me off. Another issue I have is with the horrible R&B-ish tracks mucking up the middle of the LP, and the use of some horrible unknown MC’s who can only be proteges of Clue to be getting play on an otherwise star packed LP.
To the basics-
Puffy does this, and talks about the greatness that is Clue. And yes, I’m being sarcastic.
2) Ruff Ryders Anthem Remix – Ruff Ryders
The entire crew reps on this “remix” which uses the EXACT same beat as the original, but has new lyrics. Big freakin deal. Everyone underwhelms, with the exceptions of Eve and DMX.
3) It’s On – DMX
Great track in my opinion, and I normally don’t like DMX too much. A very distinctive bassline, and vintage DMX throughout, including the hype hook in the chorus. Stangely, the track is EDITED, even though the rest of the album isn’t. Why, I have no idea.
4) Fantastic Four – Cam’ron, Noreaga, Big Pun, Canibus
Probably the best overall track on here. A hot beat, with what sounds like a repeating piano key over the rumbling bassline. Cam’ron and Nore both surprise me by having decent verses, even good, and Pun spits the usual rapid fire steel. The treat on this track is Canibus though, as he exhibits the skill that made him such a promising newcomer 4 years ago, and flows for a solid 2 1/2 minutes, on topics ranging from math to DNA. Outstanding.
5) Queensfinest – Nas
A standard QB beat, with some keys and the downbeat drums. Nas doesn’t help things much by rehashing most of the stereotypical east coast thuggisms, and doesn’t show any of the fire that was so apparent in his past.
6) New Shit – Nature
Now HERE’S how you do a QB track. Nature kills this slow track, which really doesn’t have a purpose other than to show off his lyrical talent. Nice keys on the track and a HEAVY bassline, but it stays out of the way and let’s Nature be heard. Again, the track is edited for some reason.
7) Gangsta Shit – Jay-Z and Ja Rule
I may be mistaken, but this was later released on Ja Rules first LP as well. Great beat, with a menacing organ accentuating the beat, and in general, the mood of the song is dark. Jay does his standard verse, and Ja Rule jumps in for the last verse, changing the entire song with his lively presence. Good stuff, mostly due to Ja surprisingly.
8) Thugged Out Shit – Memphis Bleek
Absolutely disgustingly sick awesome beat, with scratches between teh syncopated drums. I love this, and have been looking for the instrumental forever. On top of it all, Memph kills the track too.
9) It’s My Thang 99 – Def Squad
Recycled beat, which I can’t recall right now, but this song sounds like it was recorded in my garage. The quality is low, and because of this, I can’t really like the song too much. Red does kill it per usual of course.
10) Mariah Carey
A decently funny skit where Clue tries to get Mariah to say something stupid for the album, which Mariah will have no part of.
11) Whatever You Want – Flipmode Squad
Busta’s crew enters, with a lively stop/start beat that will take a bit of getting used to. If you like Busta, you’ll like the beat I guess, since it sounds like much of his other work. Alright vocals I guess, although Rah Digga is so much better than everyone else in this squad it ain’t funny.
12) That’s The Way – Mase, Fabolous Sport, Foxy Brown
Sucks straight up. Jacks ‘Fantasy’ by Mariah Carey almost note for note, and brings nothing to the table lyrics wise, as you could have guessed by the lineup of MC’s.
13) I Like Control – Missy Elliott, Mocha, Nicole
Remember what I said about bad R&B? Well here it is. It almost seems like Clue included this stuff strictly to get more sales… hey that might be it! 🙂
14) Bitch Be A Ho – J.D. and Roc
With two astounding MC’s such as those above, how could you go wrong? I hope my sarcasm is apparent. Jiggy standard JD track, and both MC’s blow for lack of a better description.
15) If They Want It – Fabolous Sport
Thankfully, this is the last of the refuse for the middle part of the album. I have nothing good to say about this track. It’s trying to rehash the Puff Daddy formula of 1998, where you take a poppy beat and try to lay “thugged out” vocals over it. NEXT!
16) Pain In Da A$$
A skit in the same vein as the openers on the Jay-Z albums. Pass.
17) The Professional – Mobb Deep feat. Rapper Noyd
Beautiful strings open this. The way they’ve arranged them, they give a cinematic feel to the song, with the way they rise and fall. Very impressive, and dark. It fits perfectly with the style of Mobb Deep and Noyd. A very nice track.
18) Brown Paper Bag Thoughts – Raekwon
Weird beat in my opinion. Some violinish sounding background, and drums that sound out of beat. Rae just rips the mic for the entirety of the song though, bringing it back to the style he showed on “Enter The 36 Chambers”. A definite winner.
19) Cops and Robbers – Lord Tariq and Muggs
Electronic splashy opening, and then some deep bass enters, with some jangling drums. A nice beat actually. However, the vocal skills leave much to be desired. Tariq comes weaker than he did on his solo, and this Muggs fella needs to retire.
20) Made Men – Made Men
Formerly the Almighty RSO, Made Men have a decent track here, albeit nothing special. It has a solid club ready, bass heavy beat, but the lyrics let it down. Average.
21) No Love – M.O.P.
YES! Classic M.O.P. with a psychotic frantic pace, and lots of yelling :), after the slow opening. If you like M.O.P., you’ll like this, and even if you don’t, you can’t help but like it due to the energy these two bring to the table. A loud and heavy beat, and the energy that Danz and Fame bring make this a winner.
22) Come On – Bootcamp Clik
The boys from Duck Down end off the compilation, with a great track of their own. The mighty Rockness Monstah starts things off and it gets better from there, as Buckshot, Steele, Tek, Ruck, and Lidu Rock all pass the mic after that. The beat has a driving bassline, and what sounds like classical guitar in the background. Potent.
All in all, a good major label debut for the Clue man, after years of underground mixtapes, although he doesn’t do much to warrant the DJ moniker. There’s no mixing, and it seems the only thing he has to do with the album was getting the artists into the studio, and producing a song or two.
Nevertheless a worthy addition to any collection.