Back in 2007, what was labeled by some as the “best debut since Nas’ “Illmatic”, Blu & Exile’s now CLASSIC LP, “Below The Heavens” arrived without much warning in the middle of a very hot summer. At the time, most recognized for his production and serving as 1/2 of Emanon (along w/Aloe Blacc) along with his solo debut/compilation LP, “Dirty Science” in ’06, producer Exile truly planted his foot in Hip Hop’s groundwork with the elegant backdrops he provided for a very cocksure Blu. Last year, the duo again resurfaced as a “duo” to release “Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them” to mixed reviews. Honestly, I think Travis Glave said it best in his R.Y.M. (Rate Your Music) review of the LP, “I really don’t know how I feel about this album”. Yet, the same sentiment is shared by me..hell, I even had to send a few people email/texts stating “is this a new album from Blu & Exile or a dated LP that is finally being released”? Even to this day, I’m on the fence with “..Flowers”.
So why so much Blu & Exile speak in a post related to 6 Fingers & Topkat? Well, for one, the production found on “Mercury Retrograde” from the likes of the Bay Area’s 6 Fingers is probably just as good, if not better than Exile’s (who, oddly enough, appears on “Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t” along with Del) “found on “Flowers”. Beatrock artists and no “newbies” to the scene by any stretch of the imagination and hailing from Vallejo, CA., to be exact, have pieced together a breezy, fun LP with “Mercury Retrograde”. Featuring appearances from a host of Left Coast emcees to include: Rocky Rivera, Johaz (Deep Rooted), Bambu, Moe Green and the aforementioned Del & Exile, 6 Fingers & Topkat released what is undoubtedly one of 2012′s most slept-on efforts.
Lyrically, Topkat is no Blu, but who is when Blu is on top of his game anyway? Yet, what Topkat lakes in lyrical depth and wordplay, he more than makes up for with his no-nonsense flow and tongue in cheek delivery. The production is a match made in heaven for Topkat, a perfect pairing. Tracks that highlight the LP most are the soulful sounds of “Ever Since” and “Sweet Nothings”, both of which sound exactly like they could have found a home on “Below The Heavens”.
I know, in all a fairness to 6 Fingers & Topkat, that’s it’s not the best move on my behalf to continually compare this LP to “Below The Heavens..” or “..Flowers”, but it is what it is. I mean, we couldn’t have been blessed with another “Below The Heavens” in 2012, so why not enjoy the next best thing?