What happens when you take one of Britain's foremost drum and bass producers and get some of the most respected names in United States hip hop rapping over them? Well, Adam F decided to answer that question with this album, and the results were fairly astounding. For those who don't know, Adam F had already produced several high profile tracks for United States artists: the Rockwilder-esque title track for LL Cool J's "G.O.A.T." album, and the jungle bass sounding second single on Redman's Malpractice, "Smash Sumthin". Obviously the man turned some heads with his abilities; it's not every day that a relatively unknown producer can get the aforementioned artists plus M.O.P., CNN, Lil Mo, Beenie Man, De La Soul, Guru, Carl Thomas, and Pharoahe Monch to appear on his album.
What seperates Adam F from the average producer? Well, mainly two things: incredible versatility, and flat out talent. Example one: The Redman hit "Smash Sumthin" kicks things off, and it's rather minimalist beat relies heavily on (surprise) drums and basslines. "Stand Clear" featuring M.O.P. on the other hand is a complete 180 degree turn from the previous song. The bombastic bassline and sound effects fit M.O.P. just as well as any beat I've ever heard them rock over, and that's saying a fuckin lot considering who they've had behind the boards in the past. They come through and rip it on the usual "smack you up" vibe that they're known for, and to similar effect as it usually is when they rock a beat like this: high energy, phat ass shit.
Following this is "Listen Here" featuring CNN. The beat is an electronic, amped up flurry of hot sound effects. The beat brings even more energy out of Capone and Noreaga than they usually display, which once again is saying a lot. This is three for three as far as bangers go on this album, a pretty nice start. Then, I realized the following track was by Lil Mo. Knowing that I have yet to feel a Lil' Mo song, I was expecting the worse. Surprisingly, Adam F's production on "Where's My..." manages to carry her to sounding ill. The beat is a lot of electronic, synth sounds once again, and the formula remains successful. This is when I truly realized how truly talented Adam F is: if he can make a Lil Mo track sound dope to me, believe me, he has some serious skills.
Following this is LL's "G.O.A.T." One of the best songs on his last albums, the beat is somewhat alike the one on the Lil Mo track, but sick nonetheless. Once again, I'm not going to dwell on this song, as it was already released on another album. After a skit by Huggy Bear, dancehall/reggae/hip hop mix and match artist Beenie Man and some dude I've never heard of named Siamese pop up on "Dirty Harry's Revenge". Beenie Man does his usual: even though you can't understand half of what he says, his energy is so high and his voice so cool that it doesn't matter, it's tight anyway. Siamese is a nice MC, I'm hoping to hear more from him in the future.
Hip hop legends De La Soul come through for the next accompanied by DV Alias Khryst on "Time 4 Da True". After their reknowned collaboration on "Art Official Intelligence," it only seemed fitting that they dropped another crazy song on us. DV kicks it mad hard:
"You can call it a comeback, cuz back to y'all we came
passed around like lames
Y'all remember the name
Or maybe ya don't
We're known as Alias finest
You can find us, or maybe you won't"
Then the hook "We don't really care, if you're feeling us, we gon still do our thing; now it's time for us to do us (for da true)," it proclaims the attitude that has left us with ill album after ill album from De La. And did I mention that this not only is this beat completely different from anything else heard on this project, it is possibly the sickest on an album full of absolutely filthy tracks? Adam F slows things down with a smoother, more mellowed out beat when Guru and Carl Thomas team up on "Karma (Comes Back Around)," and it works out perfectly. Guru and Carl speak on the state of overabundant flossing and overly egotistical behavior amongst rappers and people in general on possibly the most meaningful track on the album. Guru drops knowledge like usual:
"Everybody wants the wealth and fame
But nobody to hustle in the struggle just to earn themselves a name
It's like they want it all instantly
And since I know what really goes on son, I think differently"
And as for finales, there is no better track he could've picked than the bleek prediction of the future "Last Dayz" featuring Pharoahe Monch is excellent all around. Pharoahe has traveled back in time from the year 3000 to warn us of what is to come, spitting about the problems of society in that day and age over an ominous, cinematic beat. Pharoahe comes on tearing the shit up like he always does: "Drop body temps, avoid missiles that's heat seekin, communicate without speaking/ Bust onto, step through time port holes to warn you/of what will transpire in these Last Dayz."
From start to finish, EVERY song is a banger. Adam F has an uncanny ability to make beats that damn near perfectly match the artist that he's working with. There are VERY few producers I've ever heard who are as proficient in this category as Adam F. One thing: don't expect a bunch of samples, flute loops, pianos, or anything like that. The album is called Anti-Acoustic Warfare for a reason: the beats are very electronic sounding, but they are infitnetly more versatile than those of some of his stateside contemporaries known for synthesized tracks such as Rockwilder and the Neptunes; unlike these producers, you can't immediately identify an Adam F beat. You're more likely to say "Damn that's heat, who produced it?"
The only things that truly hinder this album are short length and the appearance of two songs that were on other albums; at 41 minutes in total length and 5 skits/interludes, the album leaves me craving more, and if that's the only true shortcoming, I'm not really in a position to complain. And regarding that: this album is NOT for sale in stores in the United States. However, you can visit Amazon and obtain a copy at a very reasonable price and you will likely receive it within a week of ordering - it's worth considering.
Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10
Originally posted: October 16, 2001