Album: Lyricist Lounge Volume 2
Rating: 4.5 / 10
What pisses me off in hip hop isn’t just Cash Money, No Limit, Bad Boy and Jay-Z, oh no. What pisses me off in hip hop is this continuing trend of “average ill” MCs which constantly bombards us. MCs who get mega daps from the underground, cause they actually ARE still underground and don’t sell any records. MCs who have dry, monotonous flows. MCs like Phil Da Agony, Evidence, and Wordsworth. MCs who spit shit like “my shit is timeless, a clock wit no hands, a hourglass wit no sand” (Oh right, I get it – ha ha ha! How clever!). MCs who spit punchlines like “Your album’s like a bad stock tip, I lose interest”, punchlines which have been floating around raincloud-like in various forms over open mic nights and street corner cyphers for six months, ready to be snatched and spat in a new, uninventive way. If you like this sort of thing, then you’ll just love “Lyricist Lounge 2”.
That’s not to say all the artists on this compilation are hopeless dickridden underground purveyors of played out multi schemes and flat-line phrases. Far from it, indeed most on here are established artists such as Mos Def, Pharoahe Monch, Talib Kweli and Prodigy. Looking at the tracklisting, it far more conveys the aura of the Soundbombing get togethers than the previous underground-rocket-launcher “Lyricist Lounge Vol. 1”.
But you can’t complain when some of the shit is completely top drawer dopeness. Those who think all this pop chart nonsense is bad for MOP should listen to the incendiary ‘Legendary Street Team’, in which they shout their usual alongside that old school heavyweight Kool G Rap over a monster of a beat. Dead Prez again provide reason to believe they are legends in the making with their Kweli collab ‘Sharp Shooters’, which being laced with a crisp beat by Hi Tek and featuring nothing less than the best in lyrics, has quality stamped all over it. Saukrates is one of the only MCs who’s just simmering beneath the mainstream right now that I’m feeling, and trading verses with the even iller Redman, shows exactly how all these boring ass rappers should be spitting, over a track which screams nothing but fun at the top of its voice with its thick and creamy Erick Sermon beat. Reggie Noble’s at his best –
“It’s Doc place your bets, I’m live D-88 cassette, I’m down low, I don’t think me and my neighbors met, raisinette sized hoes in your Avirex…”
Ghostface and Mos Def get together to remake ‘Ms Fat Booty’ with reasonably good results. Mos Def appears again on that Macy Gray remix which has been kicking around for months now, as that’s on here as well.
Rockwilder provides a big juicy slab of his increasingly over-used bleepy sludge funk for the album’s lead single ‘Oh No’. Nate Dogg does his typical hook, Mos Def (yeah, him again) spits a horrible verse which includes nothing interesting to speak of, but the track’s saved when Pharoahe spits 100% venom. A complex and abstract verse which is delivered with chaotic smoothness in his distinctive tone.
“Very contagious raps should be trapped in cages, through stages of wackness Pharoahe’s raps are blazin’.”
But sadly everything else on this album is average at best. Even Royce Da 5-9’s cut is unremarkable with a terrifingly Ja Rule-style hook. Q-Tip and Wordsworth spit bad verses over a bad beat which sounds like a water-filled alarm clock, Cocoa Brovaz spit bad verses over a way too jumpy bad beat, C-Town spits bad verses in between bad recycled Big L verses over a bad beat, and JT Money (aargh), Pastor Troy (aaaargh), Master Fuol (aaaaaaarrgghh, god help us) spit the worst verses I’ve ever seen on a Rawkus compilation over a typically Dirty South, and so typically wack, beat. You get the idea. I’m not going to even mention Beanie Sigel’s ‘Get That Dough’, as you can easily guess what I would say. Dilated Peoples appear on the album way after you’re already very bored indeed, and don’t help the situation by spitting their biggest load of bullshit yet. Erick Sermon’s lyrical contribution’s at least aight, although partner Sy Scott (he’s wack, by the way) sounds like he’s auditioning for the Phantom Syndicate with his nerd-tastic video game punchlines.
The ‘Da Cipha Interlude’ is a complete waste of time, featuring a whole load of MCs who can be easily described by reading the first paragraph of this review. Planet Asia comes aight though, I’m cool with his style and lyrics. This is very useful as a early warning system – the others are relatively underground cats, so all of ’em I’ll be sure to stay well clear of if they ever blow up, especially female MC Cobra Red, who makes Amil look like Bahamadia (yeah, OK, not quite, but you get the idea).
The space between the Biggie intro and Q-Tip’s Biggie outro seems like days. If you want imaginative, witty, dope hip hop, go buy something else and get the Saukrates, Pharohe, MOP and Dead Prez cuts on mp3.