As far as sub-genres go, “throwback” and “boom-bap” may well work for most fans craving a traditional serving of New York hip hop, but they can often veer into “uninspired” and “carbon-copy”. Unfortunately, Planit Hank’s production often falls into the latter categories, despite attracting some stellar guests on this 5-song EP (plus 2 remixes). Granted, these tracks have been available for a couple of years now, but Hardtimes Records have pulled them together and made this an official release.
Canibus still manages to find work in 2019 so it’s good to hear him alongside fellow powerhouses Chris Rivers and Kool G Rap on “The Omen”. The clear result of three disparate sessions, it’s fine if largely meaningless. The dream team collaboration between the fiercest emcees from the past (M.O.P.) and present (Benny the Butcher) on “What Happened to the Streets”, again, is let down by an admittedly morbid, but ultimately dreary instrumental. Even the Firing Squad can’t breathe life into it, which is a shame because Fame murders it, and hits even harder on “Finish Him”:
“Y’all n**** f***ing with a killer straight loco
Flip a n**** house like a real estate broker
Far as the flow go, n***** know I been nice
My flow is crystal meth, you want thin ice
I did shows with Khaled he was screamin’ ‘we the best’
Came back to the hood n***** screamin’ ‘we depressed’
I know I’m still a back block n****, leave a mess
My s***’ll make a silverback gorilla beat his chest”
Boasting the mean-as-f*** combo of Conway, Styles and Lil Fame, it’s a shame that the beat is almost frightened of the rappers, timidly plodding along in the background. Some of the scratches don’t hit as they should either, highlighted further by the superior remix from Marco Polo.
The song “80s and 90s” means well, paying respect to memorable artists from hip hop history, but has been done a thousand times before. The irony is that this would be a skit or part of the CD liner notes if this was the 1980s or 1990s. Ultimately, “Night Before Purgatory” relies on the names involved. The emcees involved are talented but there’s only so much they can do with mediocre beats.