Atmos, Equilibrium, Khromozomes, MKII, Royce the 5-9 ::
The Singles File Volume 006

as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Here again is another monthly installment of the hippest funky groove in town, so get on down and beat your feet to Volume 6 of The Singles File; where the latest in new twelve inches, cassette singles, and CD-5's are examined like fungi in a petri dish.

Artist: Equilibrium
Title:  Fahrenheit 813 b/w Windows 98
Label:  Atomik Recordings

Could this be one of the freshest singles this year? It's most definitely in the running. Equilibrium, a pretty much unknown group, drops two songs that bring the energy and innovation that hip-hop needs a little bit more of lately. "Fahrenheit 813" jumps out of the gate bangin with the smack of a snare and the sounds of a full loud string section stabbin the beat up. MC's can't help but get amped over this beat, and the MC's in Equilibrium do their thing quite nicely. The tempo slows for the next cut, "Windows 98" as a slow chiming fades in, a chiming that had me scratchin my head, goin "Damn...where have I heard this before?" The chimes get louder, and just before the beat hits, you hear that AOL voice say "Welcome!" and it all becomes clear: These kids have made a bangin little beat out of the start-up music in Windows 98. In keeping with that theme, Equilibrium has done one of those "Milky Cereal," "Drink Away The Pain" type songs where every rhyme has something to do with computers. Cats who aren't completely computer literate will still dig it for the short time it runs, the ones who hang out online will feel the rhyme even more. Technogeekspeak has never sounded so good.

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

Artist: Atmos
Title:  Watch the Skies b/w Proving Ground
Label:  4M Records

Puff Daddy's angelic version of "Victory" has nothing on the singers in "Watch the Skies" by Atmos. Funky, dirty, and uplifting at all once, Atmos bust shots at iced-down rappers - a familiar and slightly tired theme in indie rap but one which rapper Proven carries off well with multi-syllabalic lyrical flows. "Proving Ground" on the other hand suffers from a mixdown whose funky drummer nearly drowns out the vocalists. On the whole, this is a quality release which shows much potential for Atmos and better than average production from E. Moss.

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

Artist: Khromozomes f/ Infared, G.E.R.M.
Title:  Biggathanthat b/w Total Blackout
Label:  Ozone Music/Buds Distribution>

Fat conciousness without the edutainment hangover is what Infared kicks on the Khromozome produced "Biggathanthat"; one of 1999's most pleasantly positive twelve inches. You'll recognize this beat, but the "I could give a fuck about goin platinum or gold/as long as I eat well and my whole story gets told" steez is refreshingly new. G.E.R.M. remains "divine intergalactic" on the "Total Blackout" b-side, which inclues a spacey Roey Marquis II remix. Whatever side you flip, this release is definitely a must have on your Technics 1200 for listening pleasure or your next hot indie rap mixtape.

Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10

Artist: Royce the 5-9
Title:  I'm the King
Label:  Game Recordings

Eminem's partner in rhyme, Royce the 5-9, breaks out with this rugged track. An electro-piano riff reminiscent of Halloween sets the mood, while Royce puts it down with the hot braggadocio. "Top of the world, all that surround you is beneath me/me learning from your mistakes is the only way you can teach me." Shit-talking rappers are dime a dozen these days, but Royce wins with his smooth flow and vocal tone. Extra props on mix of Run-D.M.C. and Kool Keith samples at the end, courtesy of DJ Ev. Check this out on Royce's solo or the flipside of Bad Meets Evil.

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

Artist: MKII (Roey Marquis II and Kabuki)
Title:  ..What? b/w Fall From Grace
Label:  Ozone Ent./Quiet Force Records

Black Attack on almost any track? It's safe to assume it's not wack. Fans of Problemz and Al'Tariq should be happy with either side of this disc, given MKII's fat A-side and Spinna's unique twist on the flipside's remix. Harvey Dent's appearance on the B's "..Fall From Grace" won't blow minds, but it's musically solid. Fans of the underground NYC sound will crave to get a taste latest nugget of sweet vinyl goodness from up-and-coming Quiet Force Records.

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

Originally posted: July 15, 1999