various artists :: Muskabeatz
Label: 411 Productions/1212 Records
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
Chad Muska. Not exactly a name that rolls off the tongue. In fact, you might
even choke on it. And a lot of you are probably staring at this review right now
thinking, "Just who in the BLUE HELL is Chad Muska?"
Skaters and gamers know Chad Muska. If you're a hip-hop head who thinks that
doing a heelflip and a nosegrab is as cool as copping the latest Wu-Tang CD you'd
be one of the former. If you're a fan of the "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" series from
the series you'd be one of the latter; possibly even both. Not many skaters wear
their affiliation with rap music as loudly as Muska does, and some in the rough'n'tumble
skater world seem non too accepting. Despite being the pre-eminent Las Vegas boarder and
1999's TransWorld Street Skater of the year, many of the websites I found on a simple
existed simply to mock Chad at great length. Not only does he have an
Anti-Chad Webpage, one mocking
bio of him reads: "Influences? Leprechauns. Wigger? Yes."
Like the true hip-hop head he is though, The Muska's attitude is "fuck the haters."
After all, how many rappers do you know that would get down with tracks created
by a skateboarder for a compilation album? These are not no-name MC's either.
Guru, Ice-T, MC Lyte, Flavor Flav, Jeru the Damaja and Raekwon the Chef are just a few
of the many to appear on this release. Speaking of the latter, he opens the album
over an oriental track that would make RZA himself proud:
"Aiyyo take you back far nigga, go get the ganja
Pass me the wine, I do it on time
New style worthwhile young child, get wild
Can I live foul before I give you a smile
Do best, smoke sess, just rest, I confess
This style came stacked like packs of Guinness
Wait hesitate, watch the shit sound great
Then debate, make a tape so now y'all all had a plate"
Even if your expectations were low about what kind of album someone who spends
his time planting face in concrete would make, you would have to be impressed
by hearing this album. Chad and 1212 Record's Dave Roen fashioned a studio out
of a hotel room at the SoHo Grand, and rap luminaries poured in the door to
drop some rhymes. That's crazy respect. Maybe the elitists in the
skate world have missed out on the fact that the cool of being different was
what propelled skateboarding from subculture to mainstream popularity in the
first place. Muska dares to be different even among those who dare to be
different, and even the Blastmaster KRS-One has to give him props for that:
"And matter of fact, these rappers rappin be wack
I'm jappin slappin 'em back, with black actual facts
That's natural Jack, I read a factual map
And speed attack from the back, klak clackity klak!
They train is off of the track, and not on-ly that
I slap the phonies in fact, I make the money in stacks
I ride ponies and macs, I'm showin and flowin no act
Just get.. off.. of.. your..
Ass-assinations, tricky situations
Muska, musta lived around hustlers
Under, no wonder, a beat hunter.. outguns ya!"
Don't mistake "better than expected" for "flawless victory" though. His
track with Afrika Bambaataa is surprisingly un-hip, and so is the one for
Grandmaster Melle Mel. Considering many new jack rap heads are as unaware of
who these pioneers are as there are hip-hop heads who don't know Bob Burnquist,
it's a shame they weren't laced with the kind of impressive beats that would
bring old school to a new generation. Still you can't argue with the slap
funk Guru raps over (when's that new GangStarr album coming out), the pounding
bass for Biz Markie to be "superb like Goldberg" and "iller than Godzilla" on,
and Special Ed's updated 2003 flow is suprisingly crisp on Muska's track:
"I bring it to you like Bush Sr. and Jr.
Cause you payin with these bombs I'ma bring to ya
I'm tellin you foe, I ain't tryin to sing to ya
This is serious business, clearly we in this forever
Wild kids, we light it up on Amtrak
Stand back - we the reason why they banned rap
Meanwhile, on the street kids freestyle
I'ma rhyme 'til I'm senile
Yet, this is somethin I could never forget
We make money like the Federal Mint"
There are only three reasons hip-hop heads might be dissapointed with this album.
The first is that there are a lack of current "hot on the streets" rappers in this
mix like 50 Cent, Jin and Royce Da 5'9"; artists who would seem to be natural for
a cutting edge compilation which is more or less a MuskaBeatz mixtape. The second
is that while Muska definitely has skills on the mix comparable to his skills on
the board (or vice versa), he's still hit or miss at times. Muska himself like to
ride while carrying a boombox blasting hip-hop, but you have to imagine at times
even he would choose something hotter than this to play. Last but not least the
natural audience for this album might be put off that it's for sale in skate shops
only, starting February 11th. On the other hand, you might have fun bumrushing
their set. How many skaters who call Muska a wigger on the 'net are gonna have
the balls to talk shit with 20 b-boys waiting in line to cop his debut CD? Let's see.
"MuskaBeatz" is one to grow on; a good start with the promise of more to come from
a skater who values two turntables and a mic as much as a vertical halfpipe.
Music Vibes: 6 of 10
Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 6.5 of 10
Originally posted: February 4, 2003