**Trav’s Note: Polarity is going to be holding things down this week, while I’m busy flunking mid-terms. I’ll be back friday to handle requests****
Peanut Butter Wolf – Step On Our Ego’s (Southpaw Recordings, 1998) http://www.megaupload.com/?d=2EYE7P34 ***oops, we’ll blame Polarity
A1 50 Grand – Max Mode ***FUCKING SINGLE TRACK LINK
A2 Clept The Contortionist – Rappers Delight II
A3 Zest Da Smoker – My Old Nasty Habit
B1 Charizma & Peanut Butter - Wolf That’s Word
B2 Encore Think – Twice
B3 Subcontents – Underbomber Theories
Stones Throw Records has been one of the premier independent hip hop labels for more than a little while now. Although nowadays its roster seems to consist nearly exclusively of Loot Pack weed carriers (and their weed carriers), the founder of the company, Peanut Butter Wolf, put out a bunch of dope records in the mid-to-late 90’s before his untimely retirement. Most of you should be familiar with the long-unreleased album he recorded with deceased partner Charizma and his acclaimed solo joint My Vinyl Weighs a Tonne. This week, however, we’ve got his under-appreciated Step on Our Egos EP released not on Stones Throw, but on the small San Fran South Paw label.
Anyone familiar with the man formerly known as Chris Manak will know that he’s no slouch on the beats. The production on this 6-track record is great. ‘That’s Word’ is a slamming uptempo jam featuring the aforementioned Charizma’s unique delivery and humor. The beat change at the end of the track provides added flavor.
‘Think Twice’ featuring Encore is the best joint on the EP. A subdued piano beat with a well-flipped Donald Byrd sample on the hook is the perfect setting for Encore to tell an excellently constructed story of a house party gone wrong. Encore’s complex wordplay works a lot better on subdued production like this than the beats he was messing with on his so-so last album.
‘Underbomber Theories’ by Subcontents is a kinda weak spot on the record. The beat’s cool, but rappers Dave Dub and especially Persevere just aren’t able to harness it into anything memorable. Fortunately ‘Max Mode’ featuring 50 Grand (the one from Homeliss Derilex not Keith Murray’s crew) picks up the slack and is another highlight. 50 Grand is dope too, I gotta get that HD album that came out last year sometime.
The last two songs on the EP both suffer from what I like to call ‘Producer Album Syndrome’. The main symptom of this disease is the coupling of inspired beats with mediocre lyricism. Unfortunately Clept’s analysis of the wackness of mainstream hip hop, ‘Rappers Delight II’ and Zest the Smokers ode to the green ‘My Old Nasty Habit’ both fall far short of PB’s blunted production on each track.
Overall, Step on Our Egos is an excellent display of Peanut Butter Wolf’s skills as a producer and with a couple of different guest selections it could have been classic material.