Cloudkickers, Ice Cube, Rubberroom, Skeme Team ::
The Singles File Volume 003

as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Once again, it's 'The Singles File' at OHHLA, telling you that you ain't know NANN about this shit right hyeah playa! That's right, the hottest breaking records in rap music are featured right here. So get Schoolly like D, get King like Tee, and get Busy like Bee, because it's time to G with the hottest shit in the indust-RY.

Artist: Cloudkickers
Title:  And So Kiddies..
Label:  Fondle 'Em Records

When white rappers get angry.. on the next Geraldo. Our first batter up is the DJ Eli and Shan Boogs twelve inch "Cloudkickers". Despite putting together two nicely minimalist tracks with good sampling and DJ scratchwork, headz will listen to "And So Kiddies.." to hear indie darling Cage taking potshots at the "Detroit Michland Trim Lady" Eminem. If Cage was going to attack, he should have made it a whole song. Instead, with one verse he both overshadows and trivializes an otherwise excellent release also featuring J-Treds, Yeshua Dapo ED, and Pumpkinhead. Listen to "Truly Gifted Ones" first; and keep it in your crates for the instrumentals. It's still worth the five bones... just.

Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10

Artist: Skeme Team
Title:  Plan A
Label:  3-2-1 Records

Braggadocio rap hasn't sounded this vicious since Eminem threatened to make Lauryn Hill's kids starve. The Skeme Team con off like evil henchmen on "Con Artists" over Venom and Block McCloud's heavy beats. Pumpkinhead's threat to "skeme a man in the desert for his last bottle of Evian" and promise to "skeme a preacher into liking this song" literally *steals* the show. The B-Side "14 Years of Rap" is worth a spin just for Non Phixion of "I Shot Reagan" fame but suffers lyrically and musically in comparison to the flipside shit. Keep a hand on your wallet and your eyes and ears open for Skeme Team's LP.

Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 9 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10

Artist: Rubberroom
Title:  Reconstruction
Label:  Indus Recordings/3-2-1 Records

Tell Lonnie Rashid that this ain't your Pop's Rap. Rubberroom's Meta-Mo and Lumba rhyme over two _Reconstruction_ tracks which can only be described as menacing. Chicago's mean streets have never sounded meaner than "Evil Archangels II". Lucifer himself would probably be caught doing a backspin to this beat. The clear winner though is "Sector Rush (Rebuilt)," with a haunting organesque backdrop, screeching engines, and growling animals. The lyricism itself is not mindblowing but remains competent enough to carry the heavy audio weight. Don't buy this record if you are prone to depression or violent mood swings; it *will* push you over the edge!

Music Vibes: 10 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10

Artist: Ice Cube
Title:  Pushin' Weight (Remix)
Label:  Priority Records

Just to prove we're not *totally* on the dick of independent hip-hop, I picked up a copy of the Ice Cube and Noreaga "Pushin' Weight (Remix)" to see if the new version had anything to offer over the original. Clark Kent is known as a hit or miss remixer, and this joint is definitely "miss". The beat is actually less interesting than the original, and despite some strong words from Ice Cube (who shows his animosity to the press by saying "Fuck The Source and the Vibe") there is really nothing fresh about this song. The inclusion of Noreaga seems calculated, not a natural pairing, and Mr. What What himself doesn't do anything spectacular to brighten this song. These rhymes, quite simply, don't push any weight at all.

Music Vibes: 4 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5 of 10

Originally posted: March 14, 1999