Artist: Sway & King Tech
Album: Wake Up Show Freestyles Volume 6
Label: Nu Gruv
Rating: 6 / 10
Reviewer: DJ MF
The Wake Up Show. Ask most any hip hop head, and they’ll label it as one of the most influential radio shows in the history of the genre. Consistently putting on new talent, while still having room for established stars, the Wake Up Show always brought you something new and exciting. In addition to the exclusive tracks they’d always drop, the Wake Up Show was also known as THE show to listen to if you wanted to hear freestyles from the best in rap. Volume 6, much like the others before it, features the best lyricists in hip hop doing their thing.
Here we go yo –
1) Wake Up Show Anthem
As the title suggests, the track is the anthem for the Wake Up Show, circa 1997 if I remember right. DJ Revolution produced and cut this, and the result is a pretty hot spliced beat, with various scratches of the stars of hip hop shouting out the Wake Up Show. Just a little something to whet your appetite. After all the scratching, you get a dope little jazzy bassline and jangly guitar, leading into the next track. Most will probably skip this though.
2) Jurrasic 5
The entire J5 crews rocks over this instrumental, and they do their now signature old school sounding sing song ish. I’ve never felt this crew too much (too corny sounding), and this track kinda shows why. No real freestyle, just the group SINGING over the beat. Ugh.
3) Pharoahe Monch, High & Mighty, Mykill Miers
Each MC gets their own instrumental, and Pharoahe starts this off absolutely TEARING the mic apart, and then his asthma kicks in and he has to stop, ceding the mic to Mr. Eon of the H&M. Mr. Eon does his usual metaphorical sports ish, and while some hate his slower flow, I’m feeling this verse until he kicks in a written at the end. Mykill Miers then takes the mic, and ALSO proceeds to rock a written, this one from ‘Do The Math’. I’m not impressed. By this time, Pharoahe has his asthma under control, and he takes it back, but you can tell it’s still bothering him, as he’s now breathing VERY heavy into the mic. Eon then takes it again, and this time KILLS it, with lines like, “MC’s be fake like Lil’ Kims new t#$ties”, making me laugh out loud.
4) Onyx and DMX
A perfect pairing in my opinion, with both espousing a really raw rugged style, and they don’t disappoint, although after a minute, Fredro of Onyx makes my ears hurt. DMX does his normal delivery, and then he ALSO drops a written verse. What is it with these guys?
5) Crooked I and Chino XL
Don’t know much about Crooked, but Chino is a world class battle rhymer. Crooked actually rocks the mic nice, with lines like, “I’m like watching porno flicks with 6 chicks…I’m the horniest one in here”, and “I spit rhymes so offensive, even Chino’ll tell me to chill out”, garnering oohs and aahs from the radio audience. Chino then blesses us with a mind blowing freestyle, and if I didn’t know better I’d think it was a written, but Chino don’t play that way. Highlight of his verse- “I’m black when it’s convenient like Mariah’s ethnicity”, also getting an ooh from the audience. Chino is SO the man.
6) Chino XL Live Concert
As the track title would suggest, a live concert. Chino drops an audience participation freestyle with NO beat, and again, he shows why he’s one of the best. Highlight lines-“Brad Pitt wishes he could trade sex lives with me” and “I’m sicker than seeing Kelly Price doing aerobics”. Killer stuff, and the crowd howling in laughter/appreciation just adds to the greatness.
7) Eminem and Akinyele
You KNOW Em’s gonna rip it. Simple instrumental used, and this is vintage Em, taking popular culture, his own problems, and just sickness in general, and wrapping it all up in a great freestyle. Ak then jumps in with his trademark crazy energetic flow, and serves as a nice counterpoint to Em’s high pitched voice, and goes on for about 2 1/2 minutes straight of quality lyricism. I’m impressed, because I didn’t think Ak had it in him.
A solo cut this time for Em. And I get all disappointed this time because he’s using a written intended for ‘Role Model’ from his first album. Ugh.
Now I’m expectant. I LOVE Saafir, and he’s shown in the past that he can DESTROY rappers on the mic (see Saafir vs. Casual), so I’m expecting this to be disgusting. Instead of a freestyle though, they decide to do a live version of ‘Battle Drill’ from his first LP. Not bad, but I wanted FREESTYLES dammit! And then my prayers are answered as he does just that, and doesn’t disappoint me at all with lines like- “I’m saying F.U.! Like it was your first name!”
The Blastmaster makes an appearance, and I’m hoping he lives up to his rep as a tank in the world of freestyles. He doesn’t disappoint. Not doing the yelling thing like he normally does, KRS changes the style up a bit here, and drops some deep thinking ish, letting you know how much better than everyone else he is. Short but sweet.
11) GZA and Masta Killa
They got the ‘Get Back’ instrumental for them, and GZA starts things off. I’m impressed because it’s not your usual battle rap that’s purely upfront in all it’s meanings. GZA layers it with multiple meanings, making me think it might be a written, but then he throws in some references to Sway and Tech that change that feeling. Masta Killa is up next, and some hate his slow flow, but I think it works. He drops a freestyle along the same style as the GZA, and all in all this is a nice Wu-Tang cut.
Rev’s cutting it up pretty seriously in the background, and I’m nodding my head. The idea here is that Sway and Tech are throwing out phrases to Super, and he’ll freestyle off that. Amazing, and you KNOW this is a true freestyle, plus it’s over 8 MINUTES long. Freakin amazing, and by FAR the best cut on this compilation.
13) Dilated Peoples(promo)
A nice jazzy beat I haven’t heard before, so I’m nodding. Only about a minute long, but Ev and Rakka both drop nice rhymes, with Rakka coming out on top I think.
14) Phil Da Agony and Defari
I’m not feeling the flow of Phil in this too much. Normally he’s above average, but that’s on finished products… here he sounds out of breath, ideas, and flow. Some people just aren’t meant for freestyles, so it’s understandable. Defari on the other hand is born to freestyle with his slower delivery and superb command of language.
15) Choclair and Kardinal Offishal
AH! Canada reppin on the compilation for real, with Kardinal also helping out. Very cool beat, and Kardinal starts things off, repping T dot nicely, although many I know are put off by his reggae type flow. Chocs shows why he was the first Canadian artist on a US label though, and kills it, staying away from the cliched topics that plagued his rookie release. Nice.
16) Sauce Money
Using the ‘War Zone’ beat, Sauce Money does a pretty nice job, but truth told, I’ve never felt him, and basically due to his voice. Add in the fact that I think this is a written due to one of his crew empahsizing lines with him, and I’ll pass.
17) Tech N9ne
I’ve only heard this cat on the Wake Up Show Anthem from around 1999, but he has a unique voice, and his flow is very Das EFXish, with its staccato flow. Invisible freestyle though.
18) Tech N9ne #2
Uses the ‘Simon Says’ beat, and like the track before it, purely forgettable. I can see others liking this though.
Nothing special here either. Dope flow, but Contagious’ voice isn’t anything unique, and so he gets lost in the flow of the compilation for me, especially when he’s stacked up against some of the bigger names on here.
I like this. Distinctive voice and a flow reminiscent of Pharoahe Monch. They mixed in the beat too low though, so his voice stands out WAY too much over the track.
21) Jerbo and Ras Kass
Now I’m salivating again. Ras is the best MC in the world to me, so nothing less than the best will suffice. Jerbo is alright, but nothing special, and his freestyle consists of the usual thuggisms and materialism. Then Ras enters the picture with a WRITTEN. A shot to the stomach. Jerbo does his thing again, and then Ras finishes things off, this time with a REAL freestyle, and I’m leaving happy.
22) Juice and Supernatural
Two of the worlds best freestylers on one track, so you know this is gonna be good. If I remember right, Juice is the guy that beat Eminem in the finals of the Rap Olympics, so he’s got the pedigree. At 10+ minutes, they steal the show, each killing the mic when it’s their turn.
A pretty uneven LP in my opinion, but then again, I should have expected no less, seeing as how this is strictly indy. I think part of my disappointment at the writtens was negated when I found out that most of these freestyles go back as far as 5 years. So I’m thinking that they drop the freestyles, like them, and then use parts of them for albums in the future. If that’s the case, then EVERYTHING on this album is incredible. If not, well, the guys who strictly used writtens are suckas.
Nevertheless, a nice sampler for those who may not know who some of these artists are, and a wake up call to those who don’t know what real lyricism is.