With the help of The Double-J, and the few other DJs who turn up to supply the cuts on some of the tracks here, Doujah Raze has put together one hell of a mixtape. "The Pre-fix" does everything it's supposed to do: it brings together an artist's old material and forthcoming releases, showcases said artist's lyrical and flowing prowess, and keeps the speakers bumping practically non-stop from beginning to end.
Doujah Raze has been gathering attention for some time now – evident from the appearances of people like Da Beatminerz and O.C. on this mixtape, and also by the fact that not long ago he completed a European tour with Camp Lo and Hip Hop legend Large Professor. Blessed with a flow and style that sits somewhere between the dirty rasp of Method Man and the relaxed confidence of Jay-Z, Doujah rolls comfortably over every beat on this tape, while The Double-J scratches and juggles the tracks together to form a seamless whole.
"Ghosts of Mars," "Hard Times" and "Looking Up" – three of the tracks on which The Double-J contributes his production talent as well as his DJing ability are undoubtedly the tape's finest moments. From the meandering piano keys and driving bass of "Looking Up" to the thumping kicks of "Ghosts of Mars," The Double-J establishes that he too is a name to look out for in the future, and his different production styles provide Doujah the opportunity to illustrate that he can switch from emcee arrogance to contemplation of the art with great ease:
"I was only nine when I wrote my first rhyme:
rappin' it to Run-D.M.C. got the thirst now I'm tappin' it, clappin' it
with shanks to your jaws
and these planks that you walk cause we gangsta with ours
I get on from the horns and the ride of the beat;
the bass and the words make the fire complete
And it's soul that I seek when I'm searching for something
so please keep your system bumping - yeah
'Cause it's the D-O-U-J-A-H RAZE"
Although Doujah's presence on each track sets the bar high, there are times at which "The Pre-fix" is let down either by lacklustre production, or by the weaker offerings of guest MCs. The Dedication (featuring O.C.) is a prime example of very good verses being undermined by considerably less-good production as Digger's beat holds together nicely through the verses but drops into monotonous, uninteresting chorus sections.
There are a few occasions comparable to this throughout the tape, although none of them succeed in killing the momentum Doujah and The Double create throughout. "The Pre-fix" is both a good introduction to a promising rap artist (and his talented DJ/producer friend) for those who don't already know; and for those who do, it's a mixtape compilation of some great tracks that they should certainly have in their possession.
Music Vibes: 7.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10
Originally posted: June 29, 2004