Last Emperor, Ran Reed, Big L, Siah :: The Singles File Volume 007
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Alright OK, alright OK OK, alright OK, we're feelin you - at least the odds are pretty good of that when you're featured in The Singles File. Wack twelve inches don't often pass through here. In this, our 7th edition, will we make a rare exception and dump on somebody? Stay tuned to find out.

Artist: Last Emperor
Title:  Echo Leader b/w Charlie, Rap Tyranny
Label:  Hi-Rise/LandSpeed

Showing Philly pride and illy humor, Last Emperor rips a rock music style track and lambasts wackness in rap. Guaranteed smile bringer rhymes such as "I'ma eat these cats like that alien from Melmac" and "catch wreck like James Bond in Moonraker" may obscure the fact that Emperor is not necessarily a punchline MC. His smooth flow, cool voice and topical rhymes make the Emperor worthy of his title - truly the complete package. "Charlie" and "Rap Tyranny" round out the b-side nicely. Make sure to check out the Emperor for where hip-hop is going in the Y2K.

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

Artist: Ran Reed, Cella Dwellas, Moonie D
Title:  Introduction
Label:  Bronx Science

Quickly taking advantage of the buzz he got from defeating Craig G at the 1999 Blaze Pro MC Battle, Moonie D shows up on this twelve inch to bust a rhyme or two. Moonie's voice is attention grabbing, but he doesn't really pack any stunning lyrics that catch the ear. That award is actually split by Ug from the underrated Cella Dwellas and Ran Reed, who's opening "fight to the death, just like a Klingon" verse makes the most noise. Based on the funky backing track though, this song will be hot on any 4th quarter mixtape.

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

Artist: Big L
Title:  We Got This, The Heist, Day One '99
Label:  Flamboyant/Magnum

Although this is a seemingly legitimate twelve inch, it's vaguely disturbing how interest in Big L has accelerated after his demise to the point anything he ever did is being pressed up on wax. That's not to say that "We Got This" isn't a worthy lyrical appearance by L, but the track is mediocre and Mr. Cheeks does nothing to enhance it with his cameo. "The Heist" fares better; coming off like a third side to "Ebonics" - it even includes sound effects and a Biggie-esque "Warning" style phone conversation - which in retrospect is rather eerie. Don't expect anything from "Day One '99" though - it's a mesh of rhymes from "We Got This" and "Day One" pieced together over the DITC Day One instrumental at a live show in Amsterdam. Worthwhile for Big L fans, but otherwise, not a must have.

Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6.5 of 10

Artist: Siah
Title:  Repetition b/w Pyrite
Label:  Fondle 'Em Records

Yes, it's the man who lost the "S" on his chest in "A Day Like Any Other". Nothing has changed really - Siah is still the same lackadaisical MC that he was before, with the ill rhymes like "third eye blurred but with my third leg pissin I can make the earth glisten". The A-Side features a track which could almost be called Wu-Tang in it's haunting musical qualities; while "Pyrite" sounds like a bouncy session at a jazz poetry club and features an ironic Jeru sample of the words "you're babbling on, but ain't saying nothin". Either way, you're going to enjoy this single. Both sides are funky funky fresh.

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

Originally posted: August 6, 1999