By now you’ve already probably at least had a taste of my favorite track that appears on “Trapeze”, “Take It Higher”. Produced by Vans Cal-who, seems to be quite a mystery to me, being that there is little information available via the ‘Net regarding this immensely talented producer-…”Higher” is an eerie, creeping masterpiece. The track nears it’s apex at the 2:23 mark, or at the start of Smoovth’s verse, when Vans Cal elevates the track to another level with a blistering horn sample as Smoovth turns it up an notch in the lyrics department as well, peep:
“Tired of Bein’ Tired/A live wire/Higher than a church choir, praise Messiah/Nobody like liars/Ashes ta’ ashes, toss em’ in the fire/Burn em’ up/Calypso connect/Yep, turn em’ up/It’s gonna’ take more than rappin’ ta’ murder us..” So, you see where I’m goin’ with this? Smoovth’s pen skills may not be the most impressive grouping of lyrics that you’ve ever laid eyes on, but when laid on a hot piece of wax this cat is FIRE!! One thing that both Smoovth and Hus are guilty of is having a dope voices that are both a perfect match to the ridiculous production that provides a solid backbone to “Trapeze”. Another respectable aspect to tha Connection is that they have carved out their own little niche, whether you listen to “Food”, “Connect” or “Trapeze”, there’s no denying that this duo has their very own sound and identity. Although, at times I can hear a young Mobb Deep (at least, up until “Murda Muzik”) influence within both of the aforementioned emcees.
27 (!) tracks deep, “Trapeze” features a plethora of heaters to choose from. While, “Take It Higher” will always be my personal favorite, it’s picking the second place winner that becomes quite a chore. “Short Milk”, Smoovth’s dolo joint, is yet another AGQ-laced winner that finds Smoovth basically kickin’ one long freestyle and “milkin’ these cows the best way he knows how”. Funny thing, when I contacted tha Connection to use a cut for the W.T.R./Sneaker Politics mixtape, I asked for the full version of “Short Milk”. Being that “Short Milk” is only a little less than 2 minutes in length, I asked Smoovth if I could get my hands on “the full version”. Shortly thereafter, Smoovth hit me back stating “aaah, that’s (“Short Milk”) just a short, lil’ gem”. A “short, lil’ gem”, huh? That’s a fairly accurate term statement that is also applicable for the majority of the tracks that fuel “Trapeze”, as a select few of the tracks included on the album are over 3 minutes long.
A few more favorites worth the mention are “Thunderball”, another eerie Vans Cal-laced heat rock, the KG Boom produced thumper “Rock A Boat” (damn, that Greg Nice sample is like icing on the cake!), which in order to be fully enjoyed has to be played in a good set of headphones or a boomin’ car stereo and the remix of “Venerable Leash” which features one of my all-time favorite usages of Lonnie Liston’s “Visions Of A New World”. Hell, why stop there? “She Says Nothin” (prod. by Vans Cal), “Understand Us” (prod. by DJ Kryptonite), “Theme Song Of Foul Play” (again, Vans Cal, I’m tellin’ you this cat is ill!!!!), “Eleven” (umm…guess who?) and “Sincere” are all nice as well. For an album that’s 27 tracks long, “Trapeze” is well worth your hard earned down in today’s recession.
In my humbled opinion, the sky’s the limit for Hus and Smoovth, keep in mind these are some young cats with alot of good years left in em’. I don’t know how in the hell they came in contact with some of the (at least, prior to this release) no-name producers whom all added to the dopeness that is “Trapeze”, but they must have some damn good contacts. While tha Connection may not be for everyone, if your looking for the next Nas, Big or Jay keep on searchin’. However, what you will find in tha Connection and “Trapeze” is two hard working emcees that continue to climb the uphill battle that many artists face when also attempting to garner some sort of notoriety, or “to be heard”. Well, “Trapeze” is playin’ and I’m listening and lovin’ it!! The hunger and drive that Smoovth and Hus continue to display is gonna’ eventually pay huge dividends sooner or later. Even though the title of the album is “Trapeze”, this 27 track long-play most definitely ain’t no Circus, but rather a well put together album that feel into my top 10 favorites of 2008. Enjoy!!