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by Eric on July 11, 2007

Eric’s “Top 100″ Tuesdays (74-76)

74. Masta Ace-Take A Look Around

Damn!!! 1990!! Think about it, from the opening track (“Music Man”) on Masta Ace’s outstanding debut “Take A Look Around” to everyone’s favorite cut thus far into 2007 “Nostalgia”….That’s CRAZY!!! I mean, 17 years people!! Yet, when someone asks you to name your top five emcees, who honestly mentions A.C.E.? I’ll be the first to admit, after stumbling through combintations of Pre- “I Am” Nas, CL Smooth, Redman, Kool G Rap, EPMD, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Biggie and sometimes Jay , I’ve never once utterered the words “Masta Ace”. It’s a damn shame I tell you!! Maybe it’s because Ace has never been the one to conform to the public demand (read: just turn on your radio, although he did come outta’ nowhere with “Sittin‘ On Chrome”). Maybe it’s because Ace is the true essence of the phrase coined “Buhloone Mind State” (it might blow up, but it won’t go pop!). Whatever the reason, Ace is class…like Jordan pre-”hitting the jumper over Byron Russell” class. The dude is…well, incredible. From “Take A Look Around” to “A Long Hot Summer”, Ace has always dropped quality shit. CLASSICS? Well, maybe one surefire with “SlaughtaHouse“, but each album would be deserving of no less than 8 out of 10 stars, mics, enemas, etc. The dude is most deserving of his props, one can go as far as to say that he’s brought more to the game than Biggie (without question), Pac (way too much filler) and even Jay-Z ( uhhh, “In My Lifetime Vol.I” or “Kingdom Come” anyone?) I’m just being realistic here, dude is a straight genius! Still to this day, I get the chills when I listen to the last verse Ace spits on “Nostalgia” which is soon followed by the Erick Sermon vocal “This might be my last one”. What if it was Ace’s last one? Would you miss this Brooklyn-bred emcee….probably not? But, I’ll tell you what folks…you better appreciate every last word, song, verse that comes outta’ Ace’s mouth. He’s one of the last real TRUE cornerstones left in this sh*t we love called Hip Hop. Oh, what about “Take A Look Around”? It’s Ace..nuff’ said. I’m done, right now I’m gonna’ pop “Slaughtahouse” in the headphones then follow it up with “Sittin‘ On Chrome” and who knows what the rest of the night will bring. I do know this….It will be filled with some damn good music as long as it’s Ace!!!! A living legend people!…-Eric

75. Keith Murray-The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World

Who here can recall the first time they heard Keith Murray spit on E Double’s “Hostile”? I remember hearing that ish‘ and thinking “damn this dude is bugged, but he’s gonna’ be big!”. Was I somewhat accurate? Ehhh…bugged? Definitely! Big? Somewhat, even though in the earlier days of this blog I may have mistakenly deemed Murray’s sophomore effort “Enigma” as a slump, I’m now man enough to admit my misjudgement (after a few nudges to give the album a second chance from your e-mails, I can see and hear that is is clearly not a “slump”). With “The Most Beatifullest“, Keith Murray bounded from the starting blocks with the lead single of the same title. I mean C’mon, who out there in the winter of 94′ was comin‘ fresh out the box with their goverment name?..No alias, no BS..just Keith Murray at his finest. With wordplay and diction that was far and above even Keith’s grasp (see the “Mary’s Joint” interlude off Mary’s “My Life”…”Catch this boobonic plague in ya’ head..chest, arms, back & legs”….huh??)..Keith was definitely on some other sh*t! Backed by the funklord Erick Sermon himself, Keith shined on tracks such as the ode to herb “Get Lifted” and the outerspace directed “Escapism”. With Sermon supplying the groggiest, dragging basslines that he’s soo notable for, yet dousing them with infinite P-Funk samples..Keith displayed the most outlandish, entertaining vocabulary on this side of Central Islip. Imagine Damon Wayans‘ character on “In Living Color” where he portrayed the Muslim prisoner attempting to “enhance” his vocabulary during his stay in the bing, while failing to make a Goddamn inkling of sense. Now, multiply that times 12 and you have Keith Murray! Word on the street is Keith is back and aimed to match the success of his debut. Can it be done? I wish dude the best of luck, but it will be extremely difficult to match the freshness and originality of “The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World”. BTW, could some one please tell me what his albums post “Enigma” where like? I’ve had them all sitting on my hard drive for quite some time, but I think that “Enigma” would be the last memory I’d like to keep of Keith Murray. Enjoy this one but don’t think too hard…-Eric

76. Mobb Deep-Hell On Earth

There are only a selected elite of groups which produced and released back to back classic albums. ATCQ did it, De La did it and maybe Eric B. & Rakim displayed such novelty too. Undoubtedly, Havoc and Prodigy’s 1995 “Infamous” masterpiece will remain one of the most exhilarating and influential albums of our times and in days where sample-clearance began to cause major difficulties for every so-called producer with a MPC-60 or a SP-

1200, “Hell On Earth” surely had an arduous calling… Prior to these Queensbridge’s latest head-scratcher “Blood Money” (and by the way, Prodigy was actually from Long Island), the M.O.B.B. had one of the most loyal and allegiant followings known to mankind. These guys were always synonymous for that hardcore gritty New York ish: simple and in-your-face lyrics underlined by simple and in-your-face production. And, all of this started with the often slept-on “Hell On Earth” (at least when people talk about Mobb’s greatest achievements). “Infamous” was raw but playful, dark but insightful, grimy but reflective and the music, well it was earthshaking and thunderous but at the same time light and colorful. Part of it was Havoc using a lot of Jazz-Fusion records and part of it the arrangement and mixing of the drums. “Hell On Earth” on the other hand defined atmospheric doom! Think piano-loops, organ-hits, melodramatic guitar licks and a whole lot of rim shots. The transformation was more than evident and like I said, this was the backbone for the crew’s timeless (before they signed to G-Unit!) fan base. This albums truly works from the beginning to end. “Animal Instinct” sets it off right; followed by one of my highlights “Drop A Gem On’Em“, leading to one of my all-time favorites (at least when it comes to Mobb Deep) “Can’t Get Enough Of It” featuring the monumental verse of General G (you know by now how I cultivate theories about guest-verses stealing the whole show- this is most-likely one of them!!! And no, Nas his verse on “Give It Up Fast” is not really overwhelming- if not one of his weakest to this day). Overall, a great pick by Eric… But I guess you already know that…-Rasul

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Anonymous July 11, 2007 at 7:55 pm

here’s a link to a review keith murray done for you’re right, he says he didn’t really like his last album and he wants to come back even more lyrical than “most beautifullest” sounds promising. here’s the link

Baysic July 12, 2007 at 6:24 am

nice post!
all 3 are classics IMO.
and Masta Ace is in my top 5 for hip hop MC’s. Been listenin to him ever since.
check out my blog as well.

Max July 16, 2007 at 6:47 pm

I agree with both the Keith Murray love and the back-to-back Mobb classics comment. In fact, reviews of both albums are also available at my blog at, for everyone’s viewing pleasure. Great post as always, can’t wait to read more!

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