Once again, my blogger ADD has taken a hold of me and we will be switching gears once again into a new series. For the next round of posts, I will be highliting some of my personal favorite albums that I don’t think get enough shine. I’m not saying these are the greatest albums, I’m not even saying they are my all-time favorites, but they are albums that I’ve had an extreme fondness (no homo) for over the years and just don’t get the shine amoung even most of the hard-core heads out there.
Shadz Of Lingo – A View To A Kill
1. Different Stylez (Prod. By Diamond D)
2. Mad Flavaz (Prod. Erick Sermon)
3. Ill & Get Clowned (Prod. Diamond D)
4. Wherez Da Steel (Prod. Dallas “That Ain’t Weed” Austin)
5. Psychopathic Interlude (Prod. Madness 4 Real)
6. View To A Kill (Prod. Madness 4 Real)
7. Think I Give A F–K (Prod. Diamond D
8. Don’t Test Da Skillz (Prod. Diamond D)
9. Crossfade Flow
10. I Step 2 U Den (Prod. Madness 4 Real)
11. Alwayz Stylin (Prod. Dallas Austin)
First in the series is the 1994 release from the Atlanta via Richmond, Virgina group Shadz Of Lingo. Shadz consisted of two MC’s, Lingo M & Kolorado, and DJ Rocko. My first experiance, as I think anyone’s that heard them during this time, was on Erick Sermon’s debut solo LP, No Pressure (another personal favorite of mine) on the track Lil’ Crazy that dropped in 93′. In 94′ they dropped their debut and only LP A View To A Kill, that would have only moderate success, but is one of the better over looked hip hop albums from this era.
By no means was this a classic album in the general consenses, but for me, it got a lot of play. Both beats and MC’s attracted me to this release. With Diamond D lending his hand to four tracks on the LP, that alone was almost worth the price of admission, and if I need to remind you what Diamond was doing During this era, then there is a little LP called Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop released two years prior to this by Diamond that might give you an idea what kind of quality these four tracks are. The album kicks off with a Diamond beat on Different Stylez that gets the listener into the mood of some dope hip hop. With it’s jazzy sax sample and vocal loop, this is one of the better Diamond beats I’ve heard and that’s saying a lot. Erick Sermon produced only one track, the lead single Mad Flavaz, which sounds like most of the Funk Lords tracks during this time. E Double also drops the only guest apperance on the whole album on the track. Dallas Austin, who executive produced the album, also drops two tracks, both of which are suprisingly good. Wherez Da Steel is an Austin banger that utilizes a nice scream sample on the chorus that adds to the spazzed out track. But this track is also highlited by the dope flow Lingo M posses.
It’s no secret that there were a lot of gimmicks being kicked around on the majority of hip hop releases in the 90′s, Shadz were really no exception, introducing the “crossfade flow” to the world. It’s not that they used it extensively on the album, but Lingo M drops it on numerous tracks on the album, but I’ve gotten used to it. Lingo seems to get the most shine on the album. He has one of the better voices and flow that I’ve heard, very unique in the grand scheme of things. He also has the presence on the mic to grab the listeners attention. This is evident on the short Pyschopathic Interlude that I used to know word by word, and is populated with some great one liners. Lingo M is definately the better MC, but Kolorado plays Phife to Lingo’s Q-Tip. He’s not bad by any of the sense of the imagination, but tends to get over shadowed by his rhyme partner.
As I said, the album isn’t a classic by any means. It does have a few wink links here and there. Step 2 U Den is a jam for the honeys that is strictly filler. Ill & Get Clowned is kind of juevenile with it’s approach and kind of a waste of a good Diamond beat. But tracks like Different Stylez, Mad Flavaz, Wherez Da Steel, Think I Give A F–K, Don’t Test Da Skillz and Alwayz Stylin. It’s a must in any heads collection and fairly easy to find still (I’ve seen quite a few in my neck of the woods) and fairly inexpensive, going for anywhere from 4-6 bucks for the CD and around 8-9 bucks on for the wax and can be found on E-bay.
Four panites out of five.