Apparently, there's something dope going on at Dub Weather Gear. I wish I could give you better insight on what it was, but I tried going to the website listed on the CD's cover and it was a dead-end domain name with a "here's the server space we just bought" home page. Nevertheless if you cop this CD and read the flipside of the front cover's insert you'll see the past three volumes were mixed by well known urban heads Greyboy, Rhettmatic and A-Trak.
This is Volume 04 though, and it's mixed by SpyTech Records own DJ Cheapshot. Needless to say, there are a couple representations of his label's own underground dopeness included. After his own humerous intro, Cheapshot hits us with "Subculture" by Styles of Beyond - if you don't know about it get a late pass. The other SpyTech track I spotted (not counting Cheapshot's two interludes) is the highly fat "Let it Bump" by Tak & 4-Zone, which yours truly reviewed in a previous issue of URB Magazine.
You can't fault Cheapshot for the diversity of his selection here. Only a couple of artists are featured twice, and you certainly won't complain about it. Runaways AK first show up with Masta Ace on "Express Delivery" and again later on the even doper track "You Don't Understand." If you're not familiar with Zone from our own review then don't worry, Cheapshot also included his hilarious underground hit "No Consequences" where all laws are revoked and our hero goes around pissing on New York at will.
In fact, this whole album takes a leak on the traditional conventions of hip-hop music. Cheapshot is not afraid to mix it up and include somewhat jiggy tracks like Big L's "Holdin' it Down" in the mix and then follow it up with ruggedly underground ish like Cage's "54." This album is for people who don't limit their view of what hip-hop can be to one coast, one sound, or one style. From People Under the Stairs' "Youth Explosion" to Foreign Legion's "Nowhere to Hide" each track is a certified banger. The latter track's MC's echo the whole SpyTech vibe so well, it's almost scary:
"You know they got x-ray satellites that read your mail before it's opened
They got that secret base beneath the ocean
Testin out explosions of nuclear bombs down under Oakland
That's why those crackheads are smokin
It's remote controlled emotions, drinkin by cops with laptops
A chip inside your skin implanted with your tetanus shot"
Don't worry, the whole album isn't that deep. A lot of it is just about straight up vibing, such as Talib Kweli + Hi-Tek's tympanically thumping "Move Something" and El da Sensei's duet with The Creators simply called "The Music." Still this album is probably not going to make a big dent in certain circles of hip-hop - it's not krunk and it's not commercial - not that anything is wrong with either. In fact a track like Tak & 4-Zone's "Let it Bump" is just as worthy of being a club hit as OutKast's "Ms. Jackson" but music industry politricks won't let it happen. Don't let the game control you and don't be afraid if you see this album and don't recognize names like Mykill Miers and Styles Infinite. Take a chance, you won't be dissapointed.
Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10
Originally posted: February 3, 2001