Artist: Ron G
Album: Supa Ugly
Rating: 2 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
The mix tape / mix cd industry has blown up in a major way in the last few years. What once was a grimey underground industry, has now become less a way for DJs to show their skills on the 1200’s, and more about a select few monopolising on their positions, by compiling little more than preview tapes of new Nas, Ruff Ryders, and Roc-a-fella tracks. In the 2Gs, it seems that most of the big name DJs are more intent on being able to scream “New Shit!” on their tapes and score points on rivals by being the first to “break” a record that everyone will have a copy of a week later. For me at least, the mixtape industry has moved away from its roots and become a puppet for the record industry. When the likes of DJ Clue disguise their inability to mix two records together with an echo button, and sampled explosions… people – sumthin’s wrong.
Ron G’s cd therefore raised my hopes when I knew it was on its way. A pioneer from back in the days, Ron was one of the first to recognise the attraction of the “blend” tape, and frequently had me saying “Damn why didn’t I think of that?” as I listened to his old tapes. For a while the self professed “Youngest In Charge” ruled boomboxes worldwide, before being caught and overtaken by the lesser-skilled Funkmaster Flex. Once Flex kicked the door open, it was on for real – everyone was suddenly a DJ, and the market became flooded with bedroom DJs’ often amateurish attempts to hang with the big boys. As I said earlier, the whole market seemed to shift because of this, and the emphasis definitely moved away from a skills showcase to exclusive freestyles and new tracks first.
The cd came, and as I examined the tracklisting my heart sank. This could easily be a DJ Envy tape, Kay Slay, DJ Arson… take your pick. Most of the time the tracklistings for all these cats’ joints are all too similar, and this makes things incredibly boring. Unfortunately it seems that Ron has went this route too, and what makes it worse is the total lack of mixing on display. Songs are played in their entirity, broken up only by Brooklyn boxing hero Zab Judah, the “guest-host” for this whole thing, who certainly pulls off an amazing DJ Clue impression, with his frequent “new Nas!”, “new Busta!”, and “Michael Jackson remix!” shouts all over the tracks in question.
There’s really nothing here that makes this stand out – the exclusive freestyles from the likes of Wyclef and Nascar are more boring than anything else, Wyclef especially showing a distinct lack of mic skills. The track selection is your usual NY mixtape fare – Nas’ ‘Rewind’, Busta’s ‘Courveiser’ remix, Mr Cheeks’ ‘Lights Camera Action’ remix all pop up, sandwiched between some humdrum R’n’B and far too many Zab Judah interludes.
Where’s the blends? Where’s the skills? What’s the point?