19. “Tekstrumentals” (Come Get It)-Hi-Tek (click song to title to preview tracks)
While I’m sure that everyone and their mamma’s song of choice was “My Piano” from Hi-Tek’s “Hi-Teknology 3″ the true gem on the album (which I wasn’t extremely impressed with) was the instrumental banger, “Tekstrumentals” (Come Get It). Incorporating what sounds like car hydraulics and variable BPMs that switch up the track quite nicely, “Come Get It..” sounds eerily similar to another track that you will see later on in this “list”, Cunninlyguists “Wonderful”. While the drum track isn’t the same that Kno used for the highlight of “Dirty Acres”, you can hear the similarities in the piano sample which Tek skillfully flips. Also, what is up with all these producer/emcees wasting the best beats on the album for mere instrumentals? Black Milk did the same thing with “Luvin It” (a 1 minute 10 second teaser of pure dopeness) from his “Popular Demand”. Oh well, maybe Hi Tek and Black Milk are doing us a favor as neither of the “wannabemceez” are taking home any “lyricist of the year” awards this year.
Musically beautiful, a very simple yet accurate wording that best describes Panacea’s opus “The Scenic Route”. Producer K-Murdock simply sprinkled the album with bits of production genius that ia sure to be savored, not only by this self-confessed “beat head” (I see you Dan Love!) but also by aspiring producers that could surely learn a thing or two from the musical sequencing displayed on this masterpiece. While I’ll be the first to admit that “The Scenic Route” may have taken a few listens to digest, fans of the Native Tongues were attracted to the beautiful (damn, I guess that’s not the word that most Hip Hop fans want to read when describing “beats”) production courtesy of K-Murdock. What some may deem as “soft” K-Murdock’s musical masterpieces are what set Panacea apart from most of the Hip Hop World in ’07. Emcee Raw Poetic deserves his propers as well, spitting educated lyrics with a rhythmic flow. Raw Poetic is at his best when delivering heartfelt lyrics dealing with life’s lessons and everyday sh*t that you and I go through. One of the best of ’07, “The Scenic Route” only upped the anticipation meter for Panacea’s future work.
After writing about this “rising star” with two prior inclusions on the best of ’07 list, you’d think that I’d be running out of words to describe the presence that Buff 1 left last on Hip Hop last year with his solo debut “Pure”. Hardly, matter of fact, it’s albums like this….the ones that appear from virtually nowhere that make “blogging” so enjoyable. It almost makes you feel as if “you” had something to do with his or hear notoriety or rise to stardom. There was no better feeling I had last year than after my wife’s birth to our second Daughter (we actuallly did a “home birth”). Ecstatic, overjoyed, yet extremely tired (although not nearly as much as my Wife), near 2:30 A.M. that morning, headphones in tow, I sprawled out on my couch to “unwind” with some new music and that’s when Buff’s “Pure” blasted through my “Sonys”. If you wanna’ get specific, “Pure” may only qualify as an “intro” to the album, being that it’s only 2 Minutes and 29 seconds, but this track makes my spine tingle each time I hear it and takes me back to “that” feeling that I had when my Daughter was introduced to the World. Immediately, Buff hits you with his rapid fire, yet poignant delivery and when the tracks bursts on the surface at around the 1:30 mark it’s a wrap! What a great way to start off a highly effective album!
Yet another one of those “Aren’t you tired of writing about these cats yet?” groups. Another overlooked gem in ’07 was the Jazz Addixx re-tweaking of ’05′s “Oxygen”, “Oxygen Refreshed”. Like DJ Ragz (1/2 of Jazz Addixx) once told me, “Mudd’s (the other half) got beats for days”, and judging from what I’ve heard on both “Oxygen” & “Refreshed” I be hardpressed to digress. Admittedly, Mudd’s flow can be….umm….almost “too” consistent at times, choosing to deliver much of his lyrics in a “conversational” form. Don’t get me wrong, dude is still highly effective and enjoyable on the mic, but it’s just a suggestion from a die-hard fan. Still, “Far From Your Average” is pure uncut on plastic, crazy production and lyrics from Mudd (damn, that Puba sample was mad clever), while DJ Ragz “takes em’ out with tha’ fader”……”Please don’t even go there with that…..dig it!!” (insert Puba voiceover).
Yep, Trav (WYDU) hit the nail on the head, proclaiming Phontiggalo’s scene stealing lyrics on “Yellow Lines” as his “Verse Of The Year”. “Yellow Lines” also gives you the best of producer Kno, who’s production style is unconventional yet highly addictive. There’s something about every Cunninlynguists album that keeps you coming back for more. And even though this trio has been pinned as the “new Outkast”, they truly deserve to be classified in a league of their own. Oh, and not to be forgotten is the re-emergence of the Dungeon Family’s own Witchdoctor who proclaims he “puts a spell on dem’ hoes/forgive me Lord, but I’m hell on dem’ hoes”. “Dirty Acres” was such a solid album it was somewhat of a task to pick tracks to include on this list due to nearly all of them being equally dope. “Come here girl, let me talk some sh*t to you”….Classic!
Some more soulful iddish’ from Mr. Fruity Loops. I mentioned in the review for “Dream Merchant Vol. II” that 9th needs to do a full length with Big Remo & The Great Novej (The A.L.L.I.E.S.), I think that they may have the same chemistry if not more than 9th had with Phonte & Big Pooh.” I truly played this one to death last year. Besides, the name of this site is “When They Reminisce” after all, right? Call me biased, but oh well! The quality of 9th’s production on “The Dream Merchant 2″ really has me looking forward to his forthcoming compilation and the long-awaited reunion with Buckshot. Oh, and a request….can someone please hook a brotha‘ up with the “9th Wonder presents the A.L.L.I.E.S.” EP??
“Exile & B-L/They new Pete & CL”…..sheeeeet, with the chemistry displayed between prodigal emcee Blu and producer Exile on “Below The Heavens”, the album actually took me back to the days when I first popped “Mecca & The Soul Brother” into my “fast forward only” tape player back in ’92. And to be honest, half of the contents on “Below The Heavens” could have made the best of ’07…..yes, it was that good! First my favorite from the album was “Simply Amazin” then it was “The Narrow Path”, shortly thereafter it was “Soul Amazin”, then “Dancing In The Rain”. Now, it’s safe to say that the “clear cut” (at least for me) best track on “Below…” is “The World Is…”. However, that’s not to take anything away from “Dancing”, the breezy production from Exile is a perfect backdrop for Blu’s self-reflecting lyrics. “Dancing In The Rain” was one of those “pick me up” tracks that you play when you think “you’ve” had a bad day”. Hearing Blu’s depressing lyrics always made me think to myself “Hey, sh*t ain’t really that bad”. Thanks Blu!
You know, it’s funny, the worst lyrics from Kanye on “Graduation” may have very well been delivered in the form of “I Wonder”. However, am I lying when I state that “I Wonder” is one of those cuts that will be on constant repeat in your membrane throughout the course of your work-day? I honestly could give “two sh*ts” as to what Ye’ is spewing on “I Wonder”, but gotdamnit that damn sample and the production on this joint is simply undeniable. If I had a dollar for evertime last year I hummed the lyrics “and I wonder/do you know/what it means/what it meeeeeeeeens” to myself I’d be set for life. Also, the thump that Kanye provided for “I Wonder” is nearly enough to blow a fuse in your amplifier. Sadly though, I probably couldn’t give you two lines verbatim as two what Kanye was spitting on this track. Who cares? This sh*t was fly as hell!
Even though many say that 9th Wonder’s departure from Little Brother left an obvious void, production-wise, with “After The Party” resident Justus League producer Khrysis crafted one of the best “9th beats that 9th never made”….hell, it honestly sounds like a mixture of 9th & Nicolay. The intro to “After The Party” found Phonte spittin’ game to a fly skimmie while analyzing his conversation in his conscience, the dialogue between man & mind is fuckin‘ hilarious! The album was most definitely not lacking in comedy as Phonte & Big Pooh are both some funny ass dudes. Clever one-liners and mini-skits were abound throughout “Get Back” which kept things interesting. Also, on “After The Party” the lyrical content really parallels that of Kanye West’s on “All Falls Down”….kind of a self-analysis joint, but not just toodeep. Plus, you know I’ma sucker for an R & B hook and “After The Party” was the perfect sequel to “Life Of The Party”.
What’s that you say? You wanna’ hear the best non-Pete Rock produced beat that lyrical legend C.L. Smooth ever spit on? Well, thanks to Japanese producer Nujabes you now have it….and what’s up with all these overseas cats putting out better beats than Americans these days? I was introduced to this track by the heads over at the OkayPlayer forums (which I may visit twice a year), which directed me to the link on Nujabes MySpace where I previewed the track. Let me just say this….I damn near fell outta’ my chair when my ears were first blessed with “The Sky Is Falling”! This shit is so beautiful I don’t even know where to begin. While C.L. Smooth needs no introduction whatsoever, Nujabes truly brings the horns on “Sky Is Falling” so much in fact, that Pete Rock has gotta’ be smiling somewhere. It almost makes you wonder what an entire full length collabo from Nujabes and Corey Penn would sound like. The only negative about this track is that at times it does feel as if the music tends to overpower C.L.’s lyrics. Not that it’s that noticeable, I just feel the track could have been engineered a bit tighter. Still, one of my favorite cuts from 07′ that will be in rotation deep into 2008. This one was a treat folks…Enjoy!