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"Eric's Top 100" (albums that barely missed the cut) Pt. III…..aka "Keep Em' Comin"

by Eric on November 26, 2007

“Buisness Is Business”-PMD

Man, sometimes I feel sorry for PMD.  A well respected member of one of rap’s most respected duos, EPMD, Parrish Smith never fully recovered from the “spit” with partner Erick Sermon.  While the E Double, after a shaky start, succeeded in his second career, the microphone doctor has taken his share of lumps as a solo artist.  Who can forget his failed label venture, PMD Records, and his less than impressive solo debut “Shade Business”?  After those “mishaps”, many would have felt compelled to disappear from the rap scene for good, but not PMD.  A pure testament to his resiliency was the release of “Business Is Business” in the winter of 1996 (Relativity Records).  A successful attempt that revisited the heights of his illustrious past.  The success of the album’s first single “Rugged-N-Raw”, released on P’s own Boondox imprint, helped to rejuvenate talk of a PMD comeback and landed him a record deal with Relativity.  Featuring production from 8-Off The Assasin, “Rugged…” was a gripping battle cry that me made me feel that maybe Mr. Smith had one more good fight in him.  With assistance from proteges Das Efx and a collaboration with certified Brownsille “ruckus bringaz” M.O.P. (“It’s The Ones”) , “Business Is Business” captured glimpses of the hardcore sound that became EPMD’s signature.  Pee’s clever usage of sampled chorus hooks from Biggie (“It’s The Ones”), Jay-Z (“Kool Kat”) and Onyx’s Sticky Fingaz (“I’m A B-Boy”) meshed nicely with the songs’ musical landscapes as transparent attempts to be contemporary with what was hot in Hip Hop proved to be quite successful.  Lastly, as much as PMD tried to convince us that he didn’t need his partner to thrive on his own, it’s evident that when the two took a healthy serving of Krs-One’s advice and “squashed all beef” the finalized product was twice the dish.

“The Coming”-Busta Rhymes

When it comes to innovative rhyme styles, Busta was ahead of his time, and because of his lack of activity following the “break up” of Leaders Of The New School, he paid the penalty; other emcees xeroxed his flow and called it their own.  Maybe Busta wasn’t the first emcee to growl or rap in a “grimey” voice, but it damn sure became his trademark.  How ironic it must have been that cats who were accused of biting Busta eventually became associated with him.  Hell, if you take a close look at the video for “Woo-Hah! Got You All In Check” you’ll see his once rumored nemesis Onyx jumping along to the odd rhythms of the 1996 winter smash.  Thankfully, “Woo-Hah” wasn’t the only dope moment on Busta’s then long-awaited debut “The Coming”.  There were many minutes of pure pandemonium and bone jarring beats.  “Everything Remains Raw” (the B-side to “Woo Hah”) features Busta’s finest lyrical performance over Easy Mo Bee’s futuristic funk.  “Ill Vibe” was a contagious collabo with the “on point” Q-Tip, and on the “back to the old school” “Abandon Ship”, Busta and his ever present sidekick and cousin Rampage pass the mic like a hot potato.  Even when a dash of sultry vocals were thrown into the mix, the results were exhilarating.  On “It’s A Party” Zhane’s honey flavored harmonizing gives you that “roller skating jam” feeling.  However, “The Coming” did have it’s share of pitfalls.  “Flipmode Squad meets Def Squad” was as choreographed as a wrestling match, and the L.O.N.S. reunion on “Keep It Moving” never really lived up to it’s billing.  Overall though, it’s hard to find fault on this album but it did lack that one crushing blow (let’s be honest “Woo-Hah” isn’t exactly classic material either!) that would allow it to creep into my list of favorite albums.

“Realms N Reality”-Cella Dwellas

With imaginative names like Phantasm and Ug, you would have thought that the Brooklyn duo’s main musical attribute would be originality, right?  However, like a shooting guard with no jumper, that was one skill that the Cellas Dwellas didn’t always possess.  The Six Foot Ten (!) tall man, Phantasm, sounded like a mixture of Tek, Special Ed and….maybe, just a hint of Masta Ace.  On the other hand, partner Ug came straight outta’ Busta Rhymes University armed with a gravely voice and off the wall rhyme tendencies.  Never really coming off as wack, the Dwellas instead remained like the same dude who’s been driving a Fed Ex truck for 30 years, who is comfortable yet would never want to step up into management.  In the meantime, he still gets the job done if not with sparkling results….get it?  With beats provided by Megahurtz, Nick Wiz and the Bluez Brothas, the fault lies not in the production but in the emcees themselves.  Most songs on “Realms…” are given a jazzy feel that they (Ug & Phantasm) comfortably fit into but never overwhelm the listener.  “Reality’s” best moments, like “Medina Style”, the trademark mid-nineties “hustlin’ to rappin” autobiography, and the twinkling, piano laced “Wussdaplan”, both were mainstays on East Coast mixtapes.  Oddly enough, my favorite cut from the album also happened to be the softest track.  “Perfect Match” may have turned many a hard-rocks’ noses up, but honestly, I loved the sultry R & B hook coupled with the hardcore vocals from Ug & Phantasm.  While the album may have been bland at times, the musical production was way too dope for “Realms” to go completely unnoticed.

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{ 5 comments }

a-one November 26, 2007 at 9:32 pm

Just freestyling some thoughts cuz I’m bored….

PMD’s downfall was the way he switched up his flow to the ‘wack on purpose’ style he used for the first part of that EPMD song “Rewind.” Why did you do that P? It’s so crazy to me that Erick went on to have the bigger career.

That Busta album is dope. I didn’t really expect him to come so thorough. I remember many east vs west arguments back then & Busta was one of the few everyone could agree on.

I didn’t cop that Cella Dwellas till years after the fact. They were trying to market them as horror core & then between “Land of the Lost” & “Perfect Match” I didn’t know where they stood musically so I passed. Matter of fact… I didn’t even go back until Erick Sermon (ironic) rapped to their beat on one of those Funkmaster Flex mix CD’s! Even then I only got the 12″. I ended up getting the CD for free though.

CommishCH November 29, 2007 at 4:32 pm

“Advance to Broadwalk” by Cella Dwellas might be one of the most creative wordplays in Hip Hop…ever. I love telling my non-Hip Hop friends about what they just pulled off after the song ends; then we always have to relisten.

Always thought The Coming was Bussa Bus’ best ish too. First two tracks just set it off perfect.

One.

Pooch November 30, 2007 at 11:21 am

it is interesting that what you found as a fault for “Stakes is High”, you actually dug on Busta’s album. That was the colaboration with Zhane. I would easily put them on the same level. That’s me knit-picking.

That is the only Busta album that I would put in my top 100. Everyone loves Busta, but I think that he has a real problem putting out strong albums. Either that, or we just can’t stomach the delivery for that long.

Pooch

illest December 8, 2007 at 1:41 am

you cant do a review on the coming album and not mention still shinin produced by jaydee one his illest beats he has done. incredible

DJ ChimyChonga December 11, 2007 at 3:08 pm

New to the blog and wanted to say its really great what your doing here! But outta everything I saw here, that Busta album “The Coming” DEF. caught my eye hard! I have that shit on cassette and havent listened to it in at least 10 years. I def. copped that one hard and wanted to leave you much props for that, bringing back old old school memories with that one, “Its a Party” will always be one of his best for me, and I love L.O.N.S. reunion “Keep it Movin”!!!

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