Another well seasoned package from Battle Axe Records that serves as a musical blessing from non-MTV side of Hip Hop. Defenders of the Underworld brings out many game faces making suckers retreat from the field.
Non-Phixon sticks with it's staple sound of dissin' you right up in ya face presentation with 'The Full Monty', while Psycho Realm reminds us why they even got a record deal in the first place with 'Pow Wow'. There is even a "conscious" joint from that focused brotha, Defari. Yeah, like he said, "…anybody who said conscious rap is dead, is dead themselves."
There is of course one miss from this package. Kool Keith's 'Get off My Elevator'. This track wasn't hot when I first heard it as a single, and now, surrounded by these other gems, it sounds even worse! Yo, let Kool Keith go into hiding for a few years and meditate for a while people. That Dr. Octagon ish fucked him up real good like! I was surprised to find an in house remix of Dilated Peoples 'Work the Angles'. The music for this version is slower which takes some of the punch out of the original's feel. The additional scratching is nice, but all in all it sounds like a great version to perform at a concert (ironically this is how the track starts off).
The newcomers make good on their opportunity to bob heads. Moka Only, Pep Love, and Swollen Members shine. From every new compilation there are those acts that cause you to keep looking at the cd jewel to see just whom it is you are listening to. The aforementioned artists, along with long time singles champs The Arsonists, provide that experience for you. I would be less than appreciative to leave out the contribution from Del. Yeah, that funky homosapien throws a real bad one at the industry with 'Hoe!' It was good to hear Del snappin' off on all of the wackness amongst us.
Defenders of the Underworld is a perfect title for the line-up assembled for this compilation. Non-Phixon, Swollen Members, Del, Pep Love, Dilated People, The Arsonists and of course Kool Keith… true defenders of Hip Hop!
Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 9 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10
Originally posted: October 16, 1999