Artist: Mountain Brothers
Album: Triple Crown
Label: Baby Grande
Rating: 7 / 10
Contrary to mainstream belief Jin Da MC isn’t the first Asian rapper with flow. I’ve known about The Mountain Brothers since 1993, and if I make out the scratched phrase on the intro to this joint correctly; they have been putting it down since 1991. In that time, they have gained some measure of underground notoriety and are here with the second album “Triple Crown” to advance their mission to “take hip hop international, and make Philly the capital”.
From the onset, the intro comes in with a nice beat that you could easily find on a Dilated Peoples album. This peaked my interest and I was in the “aww yea” mindset. Nice beats aren’t hard to find throughout this album – Chops has the producer vibe down pretty well and I was vibing quite nicely until that girl opened her mouth. Damn women.
So here’s the deal, I’m bumping “Triple Crown” on the way to the movies. I had three purposes in mind spinning this CD. I wanted to finish the whole thing in preparation for writing this review, I wanted a break from that radio shit, and I wanted to expose the girl I was going to the movies with to some “non shiny” hip hop. You know that whole, “you need to listen to this type hip hop” type thought. So we get to about track 4 and I ask her what does she think. She responds with, “I usually get bored with a song when it’s the same beat over and over and nothing changes.” Well sumbitch. I was perfectly fine in my ignorance but now since she’s mentioned it I can’t get it out of my head that every beat is basically just looping from beginning to end. It’s not that you get bored with the beats but these guys are actually playing the guitar you hear so you are like, “don’t just play a dope riff and let it loop”. Damn women.
That drawback aside, this is a nice album and will get multiple plays no doubt. Lyrically these cats do their thing and the loops are head nodders. You can’t miss the infectious hooks like the one on ‘Hostile Takeover’ – “Mountain Brothers yo we straight taking over”… I can’t get that shit out of my head for nothing.
There’s no absence of lyrical skill at all when the Brothers are taking kids to school. It’s obvious these boys strive to stay on top of their game as evident on tracks such as ‘Microphone Phenomenal’, ‘Peril-L Universe’, ‘Can’t Miss’, ‘Yes Yes’. Now, the hook on ‘I’m Talking Bout You!!’ seems familiar for some reason like it’s been done before or I’ve heard it somewhere before – still a nice cut though.
There are a few dreary points on the album however. The repeated “pro wrestling” skits are a bit annoying. ‘Badbasskicks’ does nothing for the energy of the album, as it’s four minutes of an instrumental with the DJ dropping some simple scratches over it. When that’s finally over the next track comes in with the fire; oddly enough it’s a tribute track to the DJ of the crew from the previous joint; Rolli Roll.
The back and forth play of the cats getting busy on ‘Can’t Miss’ works sweetly. The flow keeps it moving smoothly. On the next full track ‘Yes Yes’, Chops gets his solo on and the metaphors and nice lines are thrown around like it ain’t nothing but a thang for him. Is the track nice? “Yes yes yes yes”.
With a name like Mountain Brothers you’d think they’d have a story to tell. And they do. ‘Birds of Paradise’ has us witness to stories of love and loss. Damn women.
By the way, Mountain Brothers have a brief message for all the people all over the land; “You get these nuts”.
Chops gets busy again on ‘Opin Wide’, spittin’ at emcees that can’t hang. “Listen to the shit you’re kicking, what was that an exhibition? / your not underground you’re just wack know the difference.” Gotta give him points for the Bruce Lee reference. Was I the only one that caught it?
This next cut, ‘Thanatopsis 2′ is a bit different. No hook, just a chill jazzed out beat with a some girl talking in French. I have no clue what’s she talking about or the relevance but it works. And this beat has a change up in it! You can’t help but feel this, that piano pulls you in and if you aren’t careful you will miss that these cats are spittin’ over it.
“Triple Crown” ends off kinda chill yet funky described as ‘Forest Gumption’. This track sees the brothers united with teamwork following the same rhyme sounds within the interchange of verses. Now if you are a “cheap and stingy bastard” like I myself you won’t stop the CD when that track fades out but will fast forward about ten minutes to get to the bonus track; a remix of ‘Microphone Phenomenal’. The remix beat adds a nice variation from the original.
Personally, I think the brothers sounded a bit more hungry and brought it stronger on their first release “Self Volume 1”. All in all, we have a good album here. I could have done without the cheesy skits but who doesn’t have a couple? “Go cop a few” and support the Brothers.
Oh and : Damn Women.