Verbals by A to the L
CopperShot – Save Me (Ev Records)
My man Chester is back again from the brink of bankruptcy, following up the well-received “Chapter 7 EP” with this, the first single from “Issues”, his collaborative album with emcee Longshot (see how the name works now?) Over a mellow beat, similar in vibe to Masta Ace’s ‘Beautiful’, Longshot waxes lyrical about his daily battle with his own psyche, as guest vocallist Ka Di huskily moans the hook repeatedly. One of the nicest (and realest) tracks of this year. On the flip, ‘Issues’ bangs much harder, with Copperpot bringing a little more boom bap to the party, and although Longshot rambles a little bit, the beat still makes this an enjoyable outing. Bonus cut ‘Hesitate’ rounds off proceedings, and for some reason makes me think of Dilated Peoples (thankfully without Evidence’s irritating nasal issues) – its an ideal bouncy cut for a underground Hiphop club.
RATING – 7.5 / 10
Dell Wells – ‘Lay The Light Low Sampler’ (Smoking Gun Media)
From his photo, Dell Wells looks like he could knock the shit out of reviewers who don’t give him decent write ups (what up Masta Killa)… when the hell has that ever stopped me before though? Trinidadian-born, Brooklyn-bred, Dell’s work is a mile away from anything that’s making noise in NY right now, instead coming off as a combination of early 90’s UK Hiphop (think Caveman), the Black Eyed Peas (WITH Fergie) and Cannibal Ox. Sounds a little messy don’t it? ‘The A Game’ is a poo-filled combination of hiphop and nu-funk, slammed together at 100mph – Dell’s lyrics are little more that throwaway rubbish, while the cheap horns overpower the track and combine with the plastic hook to leave the listener wondering why this was left off “Monkey Business”. ‘That’s Right’ meanwhile has its heart in the right place Hiphop-wise at the beginning, with a smokey DITC-esque loop getting this popping. Unfortunately Wells must have swallowed a dictionary just before he went into the booth, as he comes off as a horrible pastiche of El-P, Cannibal Ox and Talib Kweli – not a good combination at all, as he tries to cram-as-many-words-into-each-line-as-he-in-one-breath. ‘Yum Yum’ rounds off the trio of tracks here, and frankly is worth little more than a passing glance, as Dell’s stilted delivery sits uncomfortably over a montonous guitar loop. The only saving grace for “Lay The Light Low” is that its clearly marked on the packaging that these tracks are ROUGH mixes… lets hope they get remixed or mastered right into the trash, because on current evidence, I won’t be rushing to check for the long player.
RATING – 2 / 10
Busta Rhymes – Touch It (Remixes) (Aftermath)
Continuing the current tradition of milking a track to death, Bussa Buss enlists the help of Mary J Blige, Rah Digga & Missy Elliott on one remix, DMX on another, and Lloyd Banks and Papoose on another. Same beat as the original (which is admittedly off the meter) on each remix, with the only interesting things of note here being Mary J dropping a simple rapped verse rather than singing and an Original-Flavor-era-Jigga-esque performance from Papoose. Sadly, Busta’s bodyguard being shot at the video shoot will probably live longer in the memory than these stodgy cash cows. Stick with the original.
RATING – 5.5 / 10
Mobb Deep – Put Em In Their Place (G-Unit)
First off, this brooding Havoc & Sha Money beat is bananas… its the type of beat that hides in dark corners, jumping out to beat up defenceless old ladies before slipping back into the darkness. Unfortunately the ’06 Mobb Deep, despite the hype, are as boring as this beat is bonkers – weak choruses, empty threats, and P continuing to phone it in, and the capper is the 50 dick-sucking marathon on the outro adlibs. As with most of the recent G-Unit releases, the beats often disguise weak emcee outings – this track is crying out for a Kool G Rap to dominate. Blend-tape DJs get on your game. I’m awaiting “Blood Money” with trepidation.
RATING – 6.5 / 10
50 Cent & Olivia – Best Friend (Remix)
And yet, when Curtis is on – the shit is straight flames. This is difficult not to like – Hi-Tek hooks up the beat lovely,
Oliver Olivia actually sounds decent on the hook, and 50 goes for gold with the lady rhymes. Hey if its worked for Cool James all these years, why shouldn’t Mr Cent improve on his slice of the ’21 Questions’ pie? This is extremely strong, commercial Hiphop that works – hate him or love him (the underdog etc etc…) Curtis knows how to work the formula and when he gets it right like this, the results are spectacular.
RATING – 8 / 10
Pussycat Dolls ft Avant – Stickwitu (A&M Records)
This however is the perfect example of sickly sweet rubbish. Pop poo from a plethora of plastic pimped out prostitutes. Build for the charts, its radio-friendly and the hook will ensure sevenhunidfittyzillion spins from mindless Clear Channel daytime idiots. Musical vomit. Some of us still remember how these bitches helped to stiff the talented Tori Alamaze.
RATING – 1 / 10