Apani, L-Fudge, Mad Skillz, Major League, Masta Ace, Melodramatic, Rubberroom, Visionaries ::
The Singles File Volume 014

as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Surprised we're back already? What can I say, it's a big month for hip-hop twelve inches. The ever busy Celph Titled (BIG UP) makes even MORE appearances on the wax, and Major League Entertainment hits big with a DOUBLE HOMICIDE murder to make O.J. Simpson proud. It's Volume 014, so like Judge Mills Lane says, "LET'S GET IT ON!"

Artist: Apani
Title:  Spot Me b/w A Million Eyes
Label:  Bronx Science Records

I'm listening to Apani (B. Fly Emcee)'s new "Spot Me b/w A Million Eyes" twelve inch and I am once +AGAIN+ amazed by Celph the Rubix Quban's illymost beats. On the A-Side he gives Apani an incredible audio assault with slamming pianos, a delicious repeating cuatro of horns, guitars on the chorus, and a slamming drum track/bassline throughout. On the flipside I'm getting positively cold chills - a SHIVER down my back. It's like a cross between "Goldfinger" and "Diary of a Madman" - and if that ill beat combination doesn't make your heart ache, peep these Apani lyrics:

"I'd be surprised if shit changed
I'd run fast and far if I could escape this cage
Can't contain my rage, guess that's why they keep me locked
Keep me livin hand to mouth hustlin for what I got
If I drop a bomb, here come the vultures
All I really got that's mine, is my pride and culture
What you want that TOO?"

Apani is a highly jockable female rapper to begin with - she's straight skills - but Celph Titled combines her brilliant raps with some brilliant beats.

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

Artist: L-Fudge & Celph Titled
Title:  The Final Word b/w Star Wars
Label:  Bronx Science Records

Like peanut butter and jelly, like Guru and Premier, Celph Titled and L-Fudge are a perfectly delicious combination. This comic book cover twelve inch proves that sometimes the best gifts DO come in big packages. L's attitude is that "it got to the point that all songs that suck sound the same" which automatically precludes Celph's dramatically energetic instrumental. Celph tag teams on the rap and says "I'm kind of childish, I'll choke you with a Pokemon." Pika-CHUUUUU! My favorite line by Celph though has to be, "I smack Swizz Beatz over the head with his own Casio" - about damn time! L goes post office on "Star Wars" with another Celph Titled beat and even whiplashes Freddie Foxxx and his "precious" twin glocks. That's BALLS kid! Get this one fo' sho'!

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

Artist: Mad Skillz
Title:  Ghost Writer/Together/1, 2 Theory
Label:  Rawkus Records/Eastern Conference

It may not have the most bumping beat ever, but DJ Fusion's track for "Ghost Writer" is tight enough to help Mad Skillz carry his joke for three verses -- or IS he kidding? No one can be sure, but he says he "put the flame in" your favorite hot rap songs; and has some clever Jay-Z samples to back it up. The Timbaland produced "Together" is EXTRA bass heavy and could probably bust weak car stereo systems; but is still held together only by the clever punchlines of Mad. Rounded out with the "1, 2 Theory" which scratches in the words "one" and "two" from different rappers, this single is all around tight but relies too heavily on Mad's Skillz by not lacing him right with the perfect shit to flow on.

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

Artist: Major League Entertainment
Title:  Double Homicide
Label:  Major League Records

A rogue's gallery of talent is assemble on this latest release from Major League Entertainment. On the A-Side, Cash Brown and Royce the 5-9 combine lyrically over a Nick Wiz beat to release "Double Homicide on the wax". This joint has the hottest beat of either side, and features Royce spitting lines like, "What I spit make many chase Henny with bullets." On the flipside, P-Dap, Cash Brown and the long M.I.A. Das EFX combine to tell you to "Leave it Alone". You won't want to though when you hear the beat and hear the Diggity Das (who forgot to stiggity stutter on this one) rhyme like Drayz spitting "Look, every rhyme be a classic like Reebok, it'll be a cold day in hell before we stop." Look for this latest Major League release to swing for the bleachers and connect with a home run in a spot near you.

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

Artist: Masta Ace, Eminem
Title:  Spread it Out b/w Hellbound
Label:  Yosumi Records/Landspeed Ent.

If you weren't already familiar with the "Game Over" compilation album, this twelve inch is a refresher course featuring two of the album's best tracks, complete with instrumentals. On the A-Side, long lost hip-hop favorite Masta Ace returns to wreck shop over an uptempo beat assembled from the soundtrack of "The Simpsons". It's a little bit silly, but it's immensely fun and a welcome return for this former Juice Crew all-star. On the flipside, Ace shares the billing with Eminem and J-Black on the track "Hellbound" - complete with an eerie beat jacked from one of today's most popular video games (we'll let you guess which). Eminem's verse is typically psychotic (filling closed caskets with explosive gases and throwing matches) but Ace's verse is the surprising winner with lines like "Analyze the strength of my game like Lee Corso; call me a lost soul with a vest on my torso." Ace is definitely trump card high on this triumphant return!

Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 10 of 10 TOTAL: 9.5 of 10

Artist: Melodramatic
Title:  Melo Deez b/w Watchu Wanna Do Now
Label:  L-Tight Records

The latest state in the union to big up their own hip-hop is none other than Maryland, and since the abbreviation is MD it's highly appropriate this crew from Silver Springs is called Melodramatic. This underground rap duo of Los and Rosko definitely has something to offer with "Melo Deez" - an uptempo, free-flowing rap groove whose lyrics are neither scientific, jiggy, thug, gangsta, or any other discernable rap category. If you had to give it a word, the closest you could come is "mellow," ironically enough. On the flipside "Watchu Wanna Do Now" the impressively smooth vibe is killed by some fairly amateur patois chatter and a chorus that sounds like the Beastie Boys, although the beat and lyrics are still okay. Melodramatic takes three steps forward and one back on this national debut, so they're still two steps ahead of most new generic rap groups out.

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

Artist: Rubberroom
Title:  Black Box b/w Born
Label:  Subverse Music

If Prodigy was right when he said hip-hop was "heavy metal for the black people", then Rubberroom is Pantera or Slayer. Nothing is lightweight about the musical production of Fanum and Isle of Weight on the sinister A-side "Black Box" or the dark and stormy B-side "Born". Five years ago rappers Lumba and Meta-Mo might have been stereotyped as "horrorcore" or lumped in with the Gravediggaz, but these Chicago rappers are simply out to combine mic skills with dark beats. On the flipside DJ Stizo gets some shine on the scratch between verses, but the deep lyrics win with thoughts like "my truth will make a devil's soul dissolve" - and they LITERALLY mean the devil from Hell, it's not just an analogy. This war between good and evil may be too much for average mortals, but in hip-hop terms it's DEFINITELY not the wack.

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

Artist: Visionaries
Title:  Together or Seperate (Remix)
Label:  Up Above Records

This six man rap collective is well known on the mic and no slouch on the beats. Consisting of Zen and Dannu (also known as Writer's Block), LMNO, 2Mex, and beat jugglers Key Kool and Rhettmatic have a sound remarkably similar to the Jurassic 5 This is evident on the lead cut, the "Together or Seperate (Remix)" produced by DJ Khalil when they rap simultaneously at the end and stress "selfishness, gets crews broken up." Even if you weren't a fan of the J5 collective sound and style, this one still wins on the beat alone. The next cut "Come One Come All" could easily be mistaken for a cut from Aceyalone's "Book of Human Language" musically and lyrically, but again this comparison serves to illustrate how nice the cut is. The finale "Peace Mic" produced by Rhettmatic is yet another winner musically - and the only downside to this group may be that they try so hard to be selfless that dope rappers like LMNO don't let their personality shine through. Extra points awarded for including all the instrumentals on the flipside of this wax.

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

Originally posted: September 16, 2000
source: www.RapReviews.com