Artist: P Cutta & DNA
Album: R&B Chronicles Chapter 9
Label: Rooftop Entertainment
Rating: 7 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
P-Cutta is taking the industry by storm at the minute, with him and his boy DJ DNA, both recently receiving industry awards (Cutta for ‘Best New Mixtape DJ Of The Year’.) The DC Resident (via New Jersey) has carved out a niche for himself in an saturated mixtape industry, with his “Street Wars” series of cds, which chronicle famous and infamous diss records by Hiphop’s premier artists. Here he links up with DNA to give y’all a preview of the hottest new R’n’B cuts.
First thing to bear in mind though – P-Cutta is not a mixtape DJ in the traditional sense. You are NOT gonna hear any blends, any cuts or juggles here. Many (myself included) feel a mixtape should have exactly that, but you’ll also be aware how the whole industry has split with traditionalists going one route, and the new breed of DJ going the other. This camp is more intent on serving the street with the hottest tracks first, and exclusive freestyles that you won’t find anywhere else. Often there is little or no mixing on their tapes, with usually tracks playing to completion while they talk (ie ‘copyright they shit’) over the top. Whatever your individual feelings on the matter its hard to deny that these DJs haven’t made a big impact on the mixtape scene – the whole way they make up their tapes has revolutionized an already highly competitive game.
Anyway, on here you’ll get what’s sizzling in R’n’B eardrums right now. The usual suspects are all here – Usher, Janet, R Kelly, Alicia, and Beyonce, along with a few lower profile faces such as Paula Campbell, Rell, and Aaries. With the list of names its not difficult to imagine that although these tracks may well hit the streets first, that once the radio gets the hold of em, they’re gonna get played to DEATH. And with US radio pumping their label paymasters’ cash cow on the hour EVERY hour, its easy to find that listeners get rapidly tired of songs that are perhaps very good, but very played out. Case in point, Usher’s ‘Confessions’, R Kelly’s ‘Happy People’, Carl Thomas’ ‘Make It Alright’, and Beyonce’s ‘Naughty Girl’ – granted the Usher cut has a guest verse from Joe Budden, and Beyonce’s has the was-underground-but-even-this-has-got-to-radio Lil Flip remix, but even with those its hard not to fight the feeling to skip through those tracks to something else.
Luckily, P-Cutta does have some nice material on here to account for ‘skip’ fans – ‘Sweet Lies’ an unreleased Usher track bumps nicely, as does the Joe and Freeway collaboration, ‘I Remember’. Elsewhere the Neptunes-produced ‘Shoulda Known Betta’ features Case laying down a nice vocal over a bouncy beat, backed up by the one and only Ghostface with the guest verse, and the already-mentioned Paula Campbell jacks ‘Grindin’ AND ‘Tipsy’ for the remix to ‘Take You Home’ which vibrates the speakers nicely despite the similarity to the Clipse and J.Kwon cuts.
Also worth checking for is the new Angie Stone cut featuring Snoop Dogg, the Jazze Pha produced, ‘I Wanna Thank Ya’, the Just Blaze-produced Jon B cut ‘Everytime’ which features ODB (now a/k/a Dirt Mc Girt) with a charasmatic guest appearance, and a stunning collaboration between the much underrated Jo Jo Pelligrino, and Okayplayer’s new fave songbird Goapele on the remix to ‘Closer’.
There’s a few rotten albums in the bunch though – Jagged Edge’s ‘What It Likes’ is remixed by JD simply by Dupri raping another old school joint with horrible results, and Dangerous’ ‘So Hood’ fulfils the definition of bland perfectly by throwing some weak female vocals over Jigga’s ‘December 4th’ beat. Overall though this is a decent collection of hot stuff – the only problem (as with all mixtapes of this genre) is that they have little replay value after a month or so. See, if you like the cuts here you’ll go buy the single or album and get the no-dj-speaking-over-the-top version, and if you don’t then you’ll not be listening to this again anyway. As a preview tool it hits the target perfectly – the audio quality is perfect, and Cutta refrains from shouting over EVERY section of the track. In fact, his microphone work is kept to a mininum allowing the listener to actually HEAR the tracks – I’ll give him his props for that move. So, lets sum up – mixtape fans who are into R’n’B should probably pick this up – if you’re used to this method of mix cd production, then this is right up there.