various artists :: Music for the Advancement of Hip Hop :: Anticon
as reviewed by DJ Fatboy

Aaaah, the independent hip hop compilation. Always a risk, the comp could be one of the best mixtapes you've heard, could be a boring mindless babble of multisyllables and wack beats. Is Anticon a fresh little comp that makes you appreciate what these underground kids are bringin, or shake your head at how pretentious and overbearing these spoiled brats are? The answer lies, as it always does, in that gray area in the middle. Thus we have Music for the Advancement of Hip Hop.

"Propaganda" the intro, starts with a sole organ line, building a nice little ominous mood, which promptly blows up in a crash of cymbals, hi-hats and dusty loud ass snares, with a nasty little scratch strafing the carnage, chanting "Anticon..Anticon...Anticon.." I smiled. it fades into a voice proclaiming "I'll take 7 mc's put em in a line, shoot em and sell their clothes to get my widsom teeth pulled"

Huh? what?

But then a mellow bassline drops, and the Deep Puddle Dynamics come with "Rainmen," a group cut proclaiming the dopeness of their crew, and they do it nicely, showcasing various styles and levels of dopeness. Let it Rain, indeed. Buck 65 follows up with "untitled" a stream of consciousness trip through a dreamstate backed by a floating guitar sample. The rhyme almost borders on spoken word, it's so laid back and out there. Very different, but oddly soothing. I let it play on, the guitar sample was so tight.

After Interlude #1, which is pretty fuckin wack, by the way, "Savior" by Slug, Eydea and Sole comes out the speakers, a low, farting keyboard laying funk down. It's a personal weakness of mine, I love that farting keyboard, so already I'm lookin forward to this. The first verse by slug pays off, the second by Eydea is rushed and jumps from subject to subject. Sole comes a little esoteric at first, but his flow locks down forcefully and finishes off the cut in a dope manner. "It's Them" by Them (clever...) comes on. It's wack. Don't even wanna waste words describing it's wackness. Fast forward past that and the following interlude.

"Divine Disappointment," with it's plaintive beat and it's steady delivery, is a nice escape from all the bragging and mystical content that came before. An out-loud, introspective rhyme that questions his place, it gets your head nodding in part to the beat, in part because you feel the truth he spits. It's followed by a scratch track (whatever happened to these? Dope!) by DJ Signify, "Meditations" while the beat isn't very head-noddable, the scratches skitter and slide over it enough to keep you happy, up until the beat switches up completely at the midpoint to this dope as fuck string sample, but it just gets stranded there. The song abandons the sample and goes back to the original beat. Kinda disappointed, but oh well. Sole pops up for the 2nd of 4 appearances here with Dose on "Human Races the Tortoise." Probably should have cut back on appearances, Sole. This one especially. Well, it's not really your delivery, but Dose is irritating, and you're both not saying shit, really, and that beat is wack as fuck.

"My Little Habit," by Mr. Skuge bumps onto the compilation with an agreeable beat and Masta Ace's on-beat, off beat flow. A-ight, but nothin to get amped about. "Nothin But Sunshine" comes in, with a dope, dope, dope as FUCK piano loop chiming away, as Slug discusses life stories, contrasting the happiness in the loop with his downbeat story. The juxtaposition is welcome, and this is the best song on the comp by far, with it's fair share of surprises, one including a cow (don't ask. It just fits) The pictures he paints are both beatiful, realistic and haunting. Niiiiice. Of course, this is followed by yet another interlude, this one about the NRA. I don't know, it was kinda informative, but still...enough with the damn interludes.

"Martyr Theme Song" hits hard, beat thumpin and driving along, taking Sole and Moodswing 9 along with it. Sole makes up for that wack ass "Human Races..." song with this, and makes up nicely. "Simulated Snow," by 6.2 sounds promising at first, but doesn't live up to that promise, as it falls victim to "big words sound cool here and here" syndrome. Complexity for complexities sake. There's bits and pieces that pop up that almost save it, but not quite, his delivery and the beat won't let it happen. "Interlude 4?" 'Bout time a good interlude shows up, and it flows right into "Holy Shit," a group cut featuring Buck 65, Sole (again) Circus, 6.2 and Cosmic Lovefuck. At this point, it's too much of the same thing, and it seems mediocre compared to the rest of the album. It gets an indifferent "eh," from me, nothin I'd track past, but nothin I'd go out of my way to bump, either. "Bright Moments," by the Pedestrian closes out the compilation on a low-key note, with the same rushed off beat on beat flow about 10 other mc's on the album have.

And that's the main problem with the compilation, it sounds like the same mc with 12 different names most of the time, saying a lot of the same shit the same ways. Sure, there are standout cuts, and a majority of the beats are head noddable, if not outright dope in cases, but this comp just grinds down with it's lack of variety. By the last three songs, I was pretty bored, and that's not what a compilation should leave me feeling like.

Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10

Originally posted: July 22, 1999